1. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    Quoting other books in your book, is that allowed?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by dreamersky1212, Aug 3, 2015.

    Hey, I am at a point in my story where the character is trying to come to terms with being a dreamwalker. She is standing in her dream world and thinking that everything that has happened to her has been inside her head. I wanted to use the quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Dumbledore says:

    “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

    But I don't know if that is allowed. It would suit the story well, because she is of an age to have read those books and in a situation that is very appropriate for its use. But I just don't know the rules.
     
  2. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    There is no rule, written or unspoken, against it.
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Well, I would think there's a rule one should identify it as a quote. A reference in the paragraph to Dumbledore saying it would do.
     
  4. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, that is how I interpreted the OP.

    An alternative I was going to suggest (not for the sake of following rules, but for the sake of possibly expressing the idea more effectively) is to paraphrase the statement in the character's own voice. Present the thought not as something she remembers from Harry Potter and is now applying to her situation, but as a question she naturally comes to ask herself. "Yes, this has all ben happening in my head, but so what? Does that make it any less real?"
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    A reasonable approach. I worried once that a particular symbol I was using would sound plagiarized so I asked my son. His answer, he seen it in dozens of books. Not sure that me feel better but it made me think it was at least not going to look ripped off. :p
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I see references like this in a lot of books or even TV shows. Often, they're not accompanied by any kind of explanation. I think that's the best way. They're like little easter eggs between the author and reader. If you explain the reference, you take away the satisfaction from the readers who get it, and a nice little connection between author and reader. The readers who don't get it don't lose anything.
     
  7. dreamersky1212
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    dreamersky1212 Active Member

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    This is how I ended up using it:

    I sighed, well she had known everything about me, until now. I had thought about calling Daphne the night I had visited Mr. Granthum's nightmare. But what was I supposed to say, “Hey Daphne I think I might be going insane. I swear I just landed in the nightmare of my elderly next door neighbor. Also, there was this evil black smoke and it was everywhere and it scared me so much that I still shiver at even the thought of it.” Yeah, that's about the time she would probably tell me to go see her mom's psychiatrist. Its not like I had any proof of all of this. It was all happening in my head.


    “Of course it is happening inside your head, Skylar, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” I thought to myself, misquoting Dumbledore to suit my purpose. Right now I did feel a lot like Harry Potter. He thought he was normal growing up, until those letters from Hogwarts started arriving. Well instead of a wizarding boarding school I got dreamwalkers and evil smoke creatures that drained people of their reason for living. Man, I got screwed.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    Sounds good to me @dreamersky1212.

    @Steerpike, you are referring to something that has quotations around it, right? :confused: I'm not following something here.
     
  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    @GingerCoffee it may or may not have quotation marks. I've seen it both ways, for example as part of the narration in a first person story, where you wouldn't use quotes.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    I'm confused. How is it clear it's not just plagiarized?
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know what you mean. Movies, books, and TV shows makes pop culture references all the time, including quotes from other works, without giving away where the quotes are fun. It's part of the fun of recognizing them as the reader/viewer.
     
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    She's asking how can it be made clear it is a reference and not just stolen because the Author likes the line.

    That said, I doubt just a single line, unless clearly identifiable because of it's fame in the original work, would hold up as plagiarism.

    If I were to use 'the horror, the horror' in a context similar to where it came from but in a way that it isn't a *wink wink* to the reader but a serious attempt to make a dramatic point, how would that work? How could you tell?
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    OK, I see the problem. You, @Steerpike, are viewing it like everyone would recognize it as a pop culture reference but to me, I wouldn't have seen it as a pop culture reference at all without the mention of Harry Potter or Dumbledore.

    Sheesh, this, in the forum where I quoted a well known Phil Ochs song and everyone jumped down my throat for not posting clearly whose lyrics they were and that it wasn't my song lyrics. :rolleyes:
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think it has to be.
     
  15. GingerCoffee
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    A full sentence unique to Harry Potter would definitely be considered plagiarism if you left the "Harry" reference out and otherwise used it unaltered. Someone would recognize it from the books.
     
  16. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    No, even when everyone won't get it. I watched a foreign zombie movie a while back - can't remember which. One character had a line straight out of Evil Dead 2, and it was clear from context that the filmmakers were making a nod to that cult classic. But only clear if you'd seen ED2 and remembered the line. I suspect a lot of people, even most, who watched the movie didn't get it. I had to explain the reference to the two people I was watching it with. If the filmmakers had gone out of their way to say "oh, that was a tribute to Evil Dead 2," it would have been kind of lame.
     
  17. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Personally I think it's not a big deal.
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    It's not.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    Yes, I understood. Where our lines are crossed still comes down to "it was clear from the context". Regardless if it's context, a direct reference or quotes, it still has to be clear one isn't just using the line as one's own. You only implied that at first. Without stating it directly it wasn't clear to me what you meant.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    What I mean by clear from context is that it's a zombie movie and so is Evil Dead. There weren't special cues or anything. You see this sort of thing quite a bit (or at least I do). A line lifted from a book or movie.

    Heck, Evil Dead 2 itself uses the words Klaatu Berada Nicto as the passages to resurrect demons, and that phrase comes from the 1950s movie The Day the Earth Stood Still. No context to relate the phrase to the older movie, Sam Raimi was just making a nod to another cult classic. Most people watching ED2 probably never made the connection. And since then, those words have shown up in other books, movies, TV shows etc. They don't bother telling you where they are from - you either get it or you don't.

    What I'm getting at is there is nothing wrong with this kind of reference. You can tip your hand and mention the original source if you want, but you don't have to and very often people don't.

    Am I the only one who sees books and TV shows doing this a fair amount of the time? Maybe someone can explain why they think it is improper.
     

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