Monday, August 12, 2013


I recently came up against one of those books-in-the-pipeline deadlines that is sometimes overlooked: the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.

Acknowledgements are kind of the midlist author's OSCAR speech: The sole public opportunity to thank those who have gotten you to this point (and don't you dare forget to mention your spouse). Thus, for those of us who watch the Oscars, Tony's, etc., and score acceptance speeches (okay, I'm weird), this opportunity comes with a special set of perilous questions.
  • Do you thank your parents in every book?
  • Your mother-in-law?
  • What about the in-house folks who worked on your book whose names you've never been told?
In the case of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO, I did so much research for this book, including interviewing a lot of families with developmentally disabled members. But, because the story simmered a long time before becoming a novel, I did not always ask specific permission to name them in acknowledgements. As I began writing the manuscript in earnest, I heard relevant stories from teenagers at writing workshops about entirely different topics. I encountered people in the publishing industry who were excited because they were familiar with the family dynamic I was describing. Folks waiting for tables at restaurant bars. People who work for developmental disability organizations BECAUSE they have personally experienced such challenges. I even interviewed mental health workers who had been involved in controversial situations with respect to treatment of developmentally disabled young adults. I wanted to present the MOST FACTUALLY ACCURATE FICTION that I could.

So, do I double back and beg permissions? Haven't I asked enough of some people already? Do I want to mention those who shared information but whose positions do not entirely coincide with my own? Do I include a bibliography of all the books I read to research this novel?

Seriously, where do you draw the line?

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