Oh the goofs!

Several years ago I began writing “my story.” I thought if I wrote about my abusive background it might help others in some way to cope with their abusive past but in retrospect I finally realized it was to expose my abusers and “make them pay” for what they did. Much healing and forgiveness has taken place since then, Praise be to God! I remember the manuscript was quite thick and the postage was quite expensive when I mailed it to a publishing company. I was sure it was a story that would be received with great joy. It was for the benefit of others, right? I waited with excitement for my acceptance letter. I’d check the mailbox daily and be disappointed each time when there was no letter from the publisher. Hurrying to the mailbox about a month later I opened the mailbox and much to my surprise my manuscript was returned in a torn package. I couldn’t understand why it was sent back and thought maybe that was the norm for this new adventure I was embarking on. When I ripped open the package I was greeted by a sheet of paper taped to the top page of my manuscript prominently displaying, in very large print, one word. “LIABLE!” What does that mean? I pondered on it for several hours and just couldn’t seem to grasp why they would reject such a great human interest story so I finally called the publishing company and was told quite rudely, and in a very frank manner, it was “liable” and they would not publish it! The person didn’t bother to explain what made it liable. Several days later, still confused, I sat down to re-read what I had written. Oh my. I still didn’t understand the liable part because I had changed the names of my offenders but I can honestly say that I recall being quite embarrassed about how poorly it was written. Much of it didn’t make sense, even to me, the author! I could feel the anger, bitterness, and quest for revenge screaming out of the words with every page I turned. It was a manuscript that quickly went deep into the bowels of the box filled with rejected short stories, magazine clips, etc. that I tried my hand at over the years. It was only when I was going to submit the manuscript for, “Laying Down my Net-A Walk of Faith,” to a publisher many years later that I called before doing so. That book isn’t about abuse. It’s a journey of trusting and being obedient to the Lord. Because sexual abuse is talked about in the chapter on the support group, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t liable. That was when I learned what they meant by a story being considered “Liable.” To make it short and simple, be very careful what light you are putting actual people in. Living people can/will sue you! Dead people can’t. Even though the names are changed we must be very careful and also put in a disclaimer or have written permission from the actual person we’re writing about. In my new novel, “Dawn’s Light” there are first names that are the same as some of my friends and family. The characters in the book have nothing to do with the actual person with that name. There are many people named Sue, for example. We can’t avoid using a name that may be an actual person’s name. Hence the disclaimer. So remember that when we take up our pens we must write in a way that glorifies the Lord Jesus. “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” Colossians 3:23

Author Sue Cass – “Dawn’s Light”“Pursuit”“Laying Down my Net-A Walk of Faith”“Sacrifices of a Saint”“Seek My Face.”




I’d love to hear your comments. 🙂

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