I believe TL:DR's belong on the top, so TL:DR- I'd love to get a tell-all book written about my life, warts and all, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I have a lot of dirt on my mother but should I wait until she's dead before publicizing it? Are there still legal ramifications if it's all true? Would it still be a non-fictional book if I end up changing details to hide the identities of everyone involved?
Also, how should I even start? I'm not much of a writer and certainly have never had anything published before. Should I get a ghostwriter to help me or go to a publisher first and they'll help me write it?
Either way, here are the long details. I have a really crazy story to tell. I know, everyone has a story. But everyone I now know says that I should write a book about my life, even the ones who have no idea how crazy it's really been. Yet I'd have no idea what I'm doing if I could even get started.
Basically, my family history is full of crazy and I've personally had a lot of memorable events happen to me. Some are (relatively) big, like when someone escaped from a jail I worked near and I was briefly confused for the escapee. Some are smaller but were more powerful on a personal level, like when a fellow soldier came out as gay to me when it was still a dangerous time to do so.
But the main event would be my mother. She was physically, verbally, emotionally, and spiritually abusive to everyone in our family, including my father. But she was perceived as the perfect mother by the outside world, an image she spent hours each day devoted to maintaining the illusion.
She was also very mysterious but fond of gaslighting us, including my father, whenever we questioned what was going on. My childhood is full of inconsistent memories and plot holes.
And then everything changed on a major holiday where the drama dam broke and we found out a lot of answers about our mother. She was living a double life and had a personality completely different hidden away.
While I already knew she was a hypocrite from her abuse, I had no idea just how bad it actually was. Or how bad she was. Normally, she was a homophobic judgmental prude who wouldn't let us, in high school, even see PG-13 movies. She forbid any violence or sexuality in our home.
And then we found out about her affair. She denied everything that wasn't already out in the open so we investigated further and found more and more revelations. When I say we, I mean my whole extended family.
We then found out about the triple and quadruple lives she had. She was cheating on the guys she was cheating on my dad with. When she wasn't with multiple men at the same time, the others all thought they were the only one. We found out about her drug use. Her hidden career as a porn star. The incestuous relationship with her younger brother. The child molestation.
But the biggest impact to us at the time was the fact that one of the men was a pastor who was plenty of crazy himself. He became obsessed with my mother and started stalking her and her kids. He had a tracker on our cars, the whole nine yards. Still, I'm kinda grateful for him, we unlocked most of the mysteries behind my mom thanks to the blog and Youtube channel this guy maintained all about her.
During better times, the two of them actually plotted to murder my father if he had found out about the affairs on his own. My mom bought a gun in secret and they'd practice with it at the pastor's cabin.
I don't know how close that actually came to fruition because my father wasn't the one to first uncover an affair and announce it to everyone over the holidays. That was me. After I found my mom's sex tape online.
My mother had a major breakdown then and moved out. She divorced my father, remarried a week later, and lives a couple hours away but in the same State. It took 8 or so years before all of these details trickled out. Even now I'm not sure we'll ever know the full story since my mother will only admit to what we already have proof of.
But I do know that she blames me for all her current problems and I have no doubt she will happily murder me if I ever accepted her offer to come to her new secluded home and patch things up.
So with all that in mind, my earlier questions remain. What has to be done in preparation for a story like this? I tell everyone asking me to write a book on my mother that I'm waiting for her to die because I'm afraid it would thrust her back into my life otherwise. She is an extremely vindictive person but also only in her 50's now so that could be a really long wait.
Instead, I could fictionalize some of it but I'm worried that takes away the main draw of the story, that all this crazy stuff really happened, if people can't tell which is real.
Finally, I'm no writer and have little free time to get all this down in a proper novel form, though I do have plenty of material. I've heard that you don't need a completed story for a non-fictional book to get started but what do you need? If I just need a summary, what should I change from how I present it here? Any other advice would be much appreciated.
I've actually only covered a fraction of the nightmare that was living with my mother here and with how a lot of details involve very disturbing violent and sexual details, I feel a story like this should do well. I know that's not exactly how a victim should talk about their trauma but I mainly fight my suicidal depression with a bright and optimistic outer shell. Also I do find it very cathartic to talk about and air things out after I spent so many years keeping secrets and being in the dark myself.
Plus, these therapy bills aren't going to pay themselves.
Source: reddit post