Tag Archives: novel

A Question of Copyright

It has been a while since I have had a rant about copyright. Long time readers will know my stance on it. Newer readers can probably guess… here it is:
If someone comes up with an idea or a story, a piece of artwork (photo etc) or create something original, then it should be theirs. They should own copyright. Automatically.  They  should be the only ones who can attribute copyright or allow others to use it. The artist (read here also author) came up with the idea. It is their intellectual or artistic property. It is how many of them (us) make their (often) meagre living.

Recent proposed changes in the UK are very worrying as it will allow anyone who CLAIMS they have checked for copyright, and apparently could not find the owner, to use said item without permission or recourse to the owner/artist. This is plain laziness on the part of the government as they possibly feel it negates the need for more comprehensive copyright laws to cope with the internet problems.

For more info read the following:

For me, it is easy. If someone wants to use something, then they check the various Creative Commons/ Open Source/ Public Domain places and sites to find out what has been given permission to use free of copyright. If something is not there, then contact the owner/maker. If you can’t find the owner/maker, then it should NOT BE ASSUMED that is does not have full copyright. SIMPLE

… and for the record: I DO NOT DOWNLOAD tv shows or movies off the internet off dubious sites that negate copyrights. I remember waiting years to see episodes of Doctor Who or Babylon 5 on television. Very frustrating, yes. Patience, my young Padawan. These days many are either on pay tv as soon as the DVDs come out, or ‘fast tracked’ on television days after.  A couple of days is nothing. Deal with it.

Then there are competitions.  Most writing competitions let the author keep copyright but it pays to read the small print. I just spent the day writing a (very) short story for a competition, of 100 words (this is not as easy as you think!)  There is a very good prize. … $1000. But… ALL entries become copyrighted to them. ALL copyright is given up. I am sure there would be a large number of entries so chances of winning the high possible payout is low, in the scheme of things.  IF I won, it is a good payout but is it worth the potential prize to give up all of my copyright on the story? In this case, I have decided – no. The micro short story is based on an idea I have for a children’s picture book manuscript. I am not going to give up my copyright on my idea.

Next time you go to (illegally) download – say Doctor Who or Game of Thrones – think about it. This does not show up on the ratings figures for the show. It may have a gazillion hits on dubious downloads but it is the official figures on which the studios and television networks rely on drop too low, then shows get cancelled.  Think also of the many people who rely on jobs based on them.

If you don’t care about the artists and writers that supply the things you love, then think about yourself. Will you be happy when your show is cancelled  or if the artist/writers says ‘screw it I can’t be bothered producing stuff that will just be stolen’ ?(for STOLEN it is, people). When all the good ones are gone, we will just be left with crap . Which is what I think about those who steal copyright.

Rant over.


Favourites.

Recently I was asked what was my favourite book. Before I could reply, she named her favourite and then rattled off a list of many that she ‘hated’. A little way into the conversation I realised three things. I had not named my favourite book, that I was finding it hard to name a book that I really ‘hate’ and lastly that it appeared that she had not actually read many of the long list of her hated books. This I found even more perplexing. How could she know if she hated a book unless she had at least tried to have read it.

What books do I hate? I may not like the writer’s voice, or the genre but that does not guarantee that I won’t enjoy other books of the ilk. There is only one book (no two) that I have started and could not read beyond the first few pages. Both were a result of the way they were written (rather than subject matter which sounded quite interesting unfortunately. I really wanted to read them but it was so painful that I gave up.) It felt like it was a waste of my time to read something that I was not enjoying.

So what is my favourite book? Um… I am still thinking on that one. It is very difficult to choose just one. Over the years I have had many favourite books. Each depended on the mood I was in, and where I was ‘at’ in life (emotionally).

When I was in high school, I read Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh books avidly. They were my passion… until our school librian (whose self imposed quest was to widen her student’s reading vocabulary) introduced me to The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. I have worn out several copies over the years.

Then came The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the rest of the Narnia series, The Dark is Rising and other fantasy novels. This led into my science fiction phase which resulted in my first novel manuscript (about 200 pages – what is that in word count?) which is still somewhere in the shed. I hope I have not lost it. (I have been thinking of this a lot lately, now that I have returned to writing).

One book I do keep coming back to is Blue Moon Rising by Simon R  Green. I now have two copies as one is falling apart. It is fun, it is easy to read and I like the characters. There is an emotional soft spot in my heart for it. Isn’t that one thing that books are for – to transport us somewhere else and (hopefully) identify with the characters have an emotional stake in their fate?

Currently I am enjoying the supernatural steampunkish slant of Gail Carriger’s Soulless series. Again it is all about the characters. There is a wonderful array of characters both supernatural (werewolves, vampires), mortals and then there is Alexia Tarabotti, a unique woman who defies Victorian sensibilities while at the same time endevouring to uphold them. In it I found the balance of Victorian manners, the juxtaposition of the impropriety of plot situations and the resulting comedy of the characters reactions.

Why do I currently love these books? I have finally found an author whom I can identify with. Until now, I have been struggling to describe what I envisage as my ‘writer’s voice‘ and describe the genre I love to write. I get the strangest looks and have reverted back to using the description of ‘speculative fiction’ and have dreaded in trying to explain it further. Thanks to Ms Carriger, I am not alone in the world! I have found a way to describe what I love to write – alternative history in a steampunk/gaslight/gaslamp genre. I have been placed in my box and what a fun box it is to be in!


Procrastination and Working on ‘That Novel’.

I have a first draft of the first chapter of one of my ideas for a novel. I have not visited it in a few months, as I have been concentrating on short stories. This is both good and bad.

This is good (in a roundabout way) as I have been busy writing short stories (and doing commissioned artwork). I am completing an average of four short stories a month. (I know this may not be a lot for some but for me it represents consistent writing and a daily routine is forming!) This includes the original spark of an idea, rough plotting, writing, re-writing and editing. What is even better is that all of these stories have been submitted to competitions and not left to sit in  the bottom of a drawer, never to be read again.

The writing has been a good learning experience and I am sure that, when I do get back to the novel, I will have a lot of rewriting to do; I can see changes in my writing even over the past few months. Though I won’t get a lot of feedback from the competitions, my confidence has increased and I am playing and experimenting with more ideas than I would have six months ago. Getting shortlisted in the Australian Literature Review competition and being published online was a bonus and really lifted my spirits!

It is bad because, well… I haven’t written any more prose for my novel. I have, on occasion, written down some notes and have discussed characters. So, if I want to make myself feel better, I have done some work on the novel; just not written any story line.

Recently I found a link to an interesting blog article that is great for kicking the procrastinating writer in the bum! (A warning for those who don’t like colourful language but it is the actual point that counts!).” How to push past the bullsh*t and write that damned novel”  has made me think that I should pick myself up and do some more work on That novel! He makes it sound so easy.