1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Would this style be ripping off of Jeff Shaara?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Link the Writer, Feb 5, 2012.

    For those who don't know who Jeff Shaara is, he writes historical novels, and his style of writing is that he begins a chapter from the perspective of a historical character.

    When I was on my walk, I had an idea of writing about the Battle of Kadesh, taking a leaf from Shaara's books by opening up the first chapter with, say, Ramases II; the second chapter the Hittite leader, Muwatalli II; the third from an Egyptian soldier and so on.

    But...wouldn't this be ripping off of Jeff Shaara? Should I find another way to write this that's not glaringly obvious? That's what I think I should do.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you think it's the best way to go about it, then it's not 'ripping off' - it's borrowing a literary technique.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    But wouldn't it piss him off?

    I guess I'm not all that clear on the legality of borrowing literary techniques of other writers.
     
  4. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    It might do, but it's not his technique. It's a technique that he's used. I can pretty much guarantee that it was used many, many times before him and has been used at least once since. It wouldn't hurt to say somewhere that you were inspired to use that technique from reading his work, or something similar, just out of courtesy.
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yeah. Maybe in the 'thank you' section authors have, I can put down something like, '...Also, thanks Jeff Shaara, because your books have inspired me to write historical novels' along with the other people like family members, this site, etc.
     
  6. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I wouldn't sweat it, and crediting authors for inspiration is a little amateurish - everyone is inspired by the literary works they have read, some more than others, but I have rarely seen a published author write a note saying 'and thank you William Shakespeare, for writing so much cool shit...'

    Only credit sources that you used directly or had actual interaction with, such as academics you consulted or published works you drew heavily upon.
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Ah, okay. Makes sense. Credit sources I actually interacted with.

    Academics, I think I can do it via names and their position, but what of published works? How would I credit it?
     
  8. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    Bibliography at the end of the story.
     
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    ^ D'oh! Should've figured that one out. Thanks though. :redface:

    Well, so basically no sweat about writing historical novels, cite bibliography at the end of the story for written texts, etc.

    All right, so step #1: Research the crap out of the Battle of Kadesh.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    listen to kalli!
     
  11. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    Jeff himself knows other writers follow his lead style-wise and is flattered by it, not ticked off.

    I still would make your story your own, though, with your own style of writing, be it descriptions, character thoughts, etc. As well as research, research, research! It won't do your project much good if you charged blindly ahead like, say, Bill Watterstron's precocious six year-old Calvin did once when he lazily claimed in a school report that bats were bugs! :)

    Seriously, I wouldn't be worried about following Jeff's lead; I myself do so in my own historical fiction writings, but take care to make them my own.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    is he the first writer in history to use that technique?... did he ask permission to do so from whoever he got the idea from?

    no writing technique can be copyrighted, so it makes no sense to be worrying about a non-issue...
     

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