Writing fiction is a tricky business. When you write a novel, you're writing a lie, but it has to seem real to be considered good.
And authors can lie about their identities, too. Writers have long used pseudonyms. This type of "lie" is a literary tradition for certain types of novels--novels that touch on real people, novels that address hot topics like sex and drugs, novels that are controversial in subject-matter.
So what happens when an author writes a novel that seems totally real, uses a pseudonym, and starts attracting a lot of attention? If she makes the mistake of pretending to be the pseudonymous person, she can get sued for fraud. WashingtonPostReportsOnJTLeroy
And made to pony up the expenses paid by the company that bought the movie rights to the book. KTVUreports
The pseudonym was supposed to be a young boy, sexually exploited, telling his fictionalized account, but turns out to be a woman, who was sexually exploited, telling her fictionalized account.
I'm all for the truth, but somehow, writing a NOVEL and using a pseudonym, doesn't seem sufficient to entitle a company to think that it's buying something that is true, and then sue and win on a fraud claim.
But there's a lesson for all writers here. That line between fiction and truth--it can be blurred, must be blurred, for the novel, but it better be bright and clean on the signed contract.