I want to start writing, but it would be about myself - my life. And all the 'characters' are real people that are still alive.

Therefore, before I start writing, I need information about what other authors did in such a case. Did other authors use such a premise to write a fictional novel for example?

I would love to read an example of this kind of conflict. Like Author XYZ did ZYX in his/ her book.

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    If you have a story to tell, don't worry about the genre: just start writing. – Llewellyn Apr 30 '18 at 20:53
  • Many authors draw from life to one extent or another. To my understanding, most change names and enough details so that real life people do not know they are in the story. It's usually some form of fiction.And yes what llewellyn said - start writing. – DPT Apr 30 '18 at 21:43
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    Book recommendation requests are off topic. You may find help on Reddit's Suggest Me A Book and Book Suggestions. – user29032 May 1 '18 at 6:50
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    As currently written, this is a reasonable question, but it was already asked quite recently: What Genre Category for a Semi-Fictional Memoir? – Chris Sunami supports Monica May 1 '18 at 15:59

My personal opinion is that you should decide whether you're writing a fictional or non-fictional story, and hold yourself to that decision.

If you're writing fiction, it's only natural to take inspiration from your own life, as all authors do. But when you face a choice between writing what really happened and writing what would make a better story–and you will face this choice–do not hesitate to choose the latter. We all assign significance to certain moments in our lives that don't mean much to anyone else, and reporting these moments as they happened usually doesn't make for good fiction. Instead, try to understand what made the moment so significant for you, and distill that context down into something more concise and more potent than what actually happened, but that's still grounded in your experience enough to be believable.

Or, if you're writing a nonfictional memoir, hold yourself to very high standards of accuracy, and be upfront with the reader about which facts you're unsure of and what aspects of the story would likely sound different from someone else's perspective.

Basically, imagine one of the people in your life reading your book and saying to you "Hey, that's not what happened!" You should be able to tell them either "it's only fiction" or "yes that is what happened," but you can't have it both ways.

One example of a book that doesn't follow this rule is The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano, which is a fictionalized version of his own life. Well-written as it was, it came across as self-aggrandizing to me, especially because the story is told not from the author's point of view, but in the words of a rotating cast of people who knew him, giving the author a mysterious and unnaturally significant shine. But it also just feels weird to write about things that really happened while hiding behind a mask of fiction so thin that Wikipedia literally has a list of which character from the book corresponds to which real person. If you want to relate events from your life, relate them, but use everyone's real names. This will keep you more honest.

  • I agree with everything, except for real names. Real people might wish to retain their privacy. In such cases, names should be changed. But events should not - if the choice is memoir rather than fiction, that is. – Galastel supports GoFundMonica May 1 '18 at 0:25

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