1. J. Edmonds
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    J. Edmonds New Member

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    Some Beginner's Help

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by J. Edmonds, Mar 4, 2014.

    I am relatively new to creative writing, so please bear with me. The story I'm writing has text from a 17th century book inserted verbatim within the story. The inserted text has nothing to do with the story other than to visually illustrate it comes from a very old book. I have purposely changed the font of this passage throughout my story to one in keeping with the time it was written. The excerpts I'm using were reprinted/published by the Cambridge University Press in 1984.
    Am I obligated to cite this work or get permission of any kind to use this text for publishing purposes?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    This quote from Stanford University's library page should answer your question:
     
  3. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Every single in in your story should move the plot, develop character, or meaningfully set the scene (hopefully, more then one of those at a time). From what you said the inserted text does none of them and thus only slows the narrative, because for every moment the reader is looking at that text nothing is happening in the story. If you say the protagonist reading an old book it is, and needs no demonstration. God help us if you run the protagonist into the bathroom. :eek:
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This, IMO, is the risky part. If the 1984 republisher did any creative work at all in preparing the text for publication--spelling choice, translation, creative choice of line breaks, etc.--then that work could be copyrightable.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    this is a duplicate thread... please see my comments in the other one... and then ask a moderator to combine the two...
     
  6. J. Edmonds
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    J. Edmonds New Member

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    I agree with you wholeheartedly. However, you need more information to understand my thinking with this. The old book's excerpts lack of context to the story is part of the plot. Yes, it does slow the narrative slightly, but the excerpt is short and in an ancient font that distinguishes it from the narrative of the story. I wanted the reader to feel the same confusion as the protagonist when reading the old text. The excerpts contain hidden messages for the protagonist to discover. I wanted to use an actual work from that period to further illustrate to the reader the book is old, authentic. Other narrative explains this prior to the introduction of the excepts. I use the old text sparingly so as not to slow things too much.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Computerized word processing allows writers to do things that they've never been able to do before, like ancient symbols and antique fonts. But I see another potential problem - that you are spoon-feeding the reader on the protagonist's confusion and on the work itself. I don't see anything to draw the reader further into your story, and that's what you want to do. If you want to show us the protagonist's confusion, or doubt, or sense of discovery, show us. Don't distract us with the object. You can do this in a number of ways - have him draw one conclusion, then realize it's wrong, then another, then maybe be at a loss. But keep it within the context of your story. In the end, the reader doesn't even care if the book you use is real.
     
  8. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    You can't have it both ways. If it results in the protagonist taking action that moves the plot it is relevant to the story. In which case there's no need for the business with the font. If you show it as it actually appears in the book the text would have to be spelled as it was then, and that makes it difficult to read for the reader who wants to be entertained.

    And if the reader is going to find it intrusive, sum it up. We provide the essence of conversation and readings, not the actual thing. Were the protagonist to be moved by reading War and Peace would you include that? If he hears a sermon and is moved, must we read it? Or would it make more sense to provide the relevant line or thought, and focus in the protagonist's response.
     
  9. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    What is the title and author of the book?
     
  10. Fizpok
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    Fizpok Member

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    I would remove anything that is not mandatory. Can the book survive without the "old text"? Will it improve?
    Is it possible to find some other book, one that brings a new twist to a story?
     

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