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Re: Historical Novel Society Idea Ownership/Collective Writing and Genre

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  • Julianne Lee
    ... Most people do, and aren t. You belong to an incredibly large club. ... In my experience, ideas are a dime a dozen. I ve never lacked a story idea, and
    Message 1 of 33 , Jan 1, 2011
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      >I have an idea for novel but am not a writer.

      Most people do, and aren't. You belong to an incredibly large club.

      >I wanted to discuss how others felt about the notion that novelists
      >may not always be the best people to generate ideas.

      In my experience, ideas are a dime a dozen. I've never
      lacked a story idea, and have a notebook full of them. The critical
      thing is to be able to construct an actual story from that idea germ.
      That requires not just writing skill, but storytelling skills and
      familiarity with principles of drama and communication. I teach at a
      writing workshop in Louisville, and I find the ability is rare even
      among those who attempt to write novels.
      Furthermore, ideas cannot be copyrighted. Not unless they've
      been developed to a certain point, which usually involves writing
      them down in some form. A number of people have come to me and said
      "I have an idea for a novel. If you will write it I will give you
      half the proceeds from sale." My reply is always Idon'tthinkso. If I
      develop an idea into an actual story, then write the book, the
      copyright is mine, no matter where I got the idea. And no idea is
      worth half the income from a manuscript sale.

      >I also was interested in question of why what might in fact be a
      >non-fiction conspiracy theory would not be far better told as a
      >historical novel.

      If you mean that your idea, which you believe to be
      nonfiction, might receive an audience as fiction, then I think you
      need to have a clearer idea of the difference between fiction and
      nonfiction, and also what they call "dramatization," where an actual
      event is dramatized to include fictional events and characters. I
      would caution you with something I often tell my students: that truth
      is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense. The
      purpose of fiction is to tell a story that means something, where
      nonfiction can fall back on the fact that "it really happened." If
      your idea is too shocking to be believed, then you'll have more
      difficulty telling it as fiction than by calling it truth. But if you
      call it truth, you'll need to support your story with demonstrable
      fact. Just believing it won't fly.


      Julianne Lee

      http://www.julianneardianlee.com
      "Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor"
      Berkley, 2009


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    • sidney allinson
      From: Teresa Basinski Eckford That s because most bookstores now use software that tell them shelving locations for the books...so if someone had come in and
      Message 33 of 33 , Jan 4, 2011
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        From: Teresa Basinski Eckford
        That's because most bookstores now use software that tell them shelving
        locations for the books...so if someone had come in and ASKED for your book and
        the counter clerk had looked up the title, then gone to where the computer told
        them it was located, had you moved it, the clerk wouldn't have found it and
        you'd have lost a sale.
        Teresa.
        In theory, yes. But if the computerized placement was inaccurate in the first
        place (as it was in my instance) five sales would have been never made.
        Even in this computer-dependent world, most bookstore sales still come
        about as result of the simple joy of browsing.
        -- Sidney.




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