Saturday, January 12, 2008

Copying Other People's Words

I really would rather not discuss this, but I
feel I have to offer my opinion, first as a teacher
and also as an author, especially as an author who
writes historical romance.

If you haven't heard - which I doubt - another author
has been accused of copying the exact wording of
researchers, mainly descriptions of American Indian
cultures, food, weapons. Since I've only read one
or two of her books, and have no time to research the
passages under question, I won't comment on her guilt
or innocence.

However, I would like to make one or two observations.
As I teacher, I frequently referred to, and copied the
exact wording of material I used to demonstrate a point.
Economics, history, nutrition! I'm no expert, so I turned
to the people who were. And, it was all legal. I told
the students who wrote the material and why I was using

Now, I don't live in the time periods I write about, nor
do I have any psychic ability to see into the past. I
research to find out how people lived, what they ate,
how they traveled, etc. etc. And then I try to put
the descriptions into the words or thoughts of my characters.
I DO NOT copy other people's phrases for my fictional work.
However, I have to relay in descriptions used by others
more expert than I.

A 'quill pen' is a bird, goose, duck feather sharpened into
a point and dipped into some kind of dark substance with
which to write.....

Did some researcher say it the same way? After all, there are
only so many ways to say the same thing....

Keep that it mind as accusations are thrown to the wind.

"Heal My Hurting Heart"
available now from Champagne Books
Coming soon - "Heartsong"

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