Okay so here’s the deal, a very real issue is being muddied in the middle of this war of personality. But the very real issue is what I’m most interested in as an author. I’d like to have a discussion about how to handle source material here. To try and learn from each other what we do and how we do it. Not just from a legal standpoint but from an ethical one because this isn’t an easy issue at the margins.
Participation is welcomed and encouraged! I think this is such a great place for a teaching moment about the business of writing and I’d really love to explore that on behalf of the 95% of us who try to do the right thing. But please let’s stay on topic. I’m not interested in re-hashing what’s happening between personalities – I want to talk about the *issue*
I use outside material when I write. By that I mean, I use research material and reference books. For instance I have a thing about Celtic mythology. I love it. But I love mythology in general so I’ve also used Indic mytho religious structure as well as Greek and Roman myth. I’ve used the Scotts version of Fae mythology and the Irish version as well as some Germanic mythos. It’s all fabulously interesting.
I also use city and state webpages, encyclopedias, treatises, and the gazillion law books taking up space on my shelves and taunting me with my student loan bills.
Generally, so far anyway, I haven’t cited the material because I tend to read books about mythology all the time and I use characters from mythology (like Aoife for instance) and give them a spin – also like Angra from Indic mythos from my early WK books. Certainly, the way I see it, if I used one source a lot, or actually took something word for word, I’d cite. That’s basic for me and I got that back in college.
Still though, the lines aren’t so clear to me out here at the margins. Should we then, as authors, put a list of books we read during the writing of our novels in an index? Not as cited material, which is different as I note above, but out of basic graciousness and appreciation to our bretheren who spend all that time writing these research books we use?
Where is that line? That’s what I’m interested in. I know where the line is in the middle and I know how to cite source material if I use it or quote it. But if we read a variety of creation myths to do background on a story but the story isn’t about creation myth so much and we’re using something that’s been passed down over and over and is in a multitude of places – do we acknowledge it anyway? I have like five books on baby names for instance, from back in the day when I was reproducing – I use them all the time to think up names. Do they need to be referenced in some sense?
What do you all think? Authors, where is your line? Will your line change now that this whole thing has surfaced? I must admit I’ve been thinking on it very strongly. Not because I’ve taken whole paragraphs’ worth of anyone else’s work but because I do a lot of outside reading for some of my stories and I want to do the right thing.