Are others involved and do you want to stay close to the facts? If you know this is the case, run and get permission. Do your best to describe that this will be a work of fiction with strands of truth woven through it. Explain to those involved that they will see themselves reflected, but it will be as if they are standing before a curved mirror in an amusement fun house. You might offer assurance their story could be a great benefit to readers. If they are willing to have you share the essence of what happened to them, go forward and write.
However, if you think the final work will be far from the truth, get to writing first. If you aren’t sure and just the thought of asking permission is hindering your process, begin to write with the intention to either:
- ask the involved parties in the future, knowing you may be denied permission to publish your work, or
- be firm in your design to spin the story far away from the facts.