Saturday, July 13, 2013

A Post of Firsts


I've decided to take part in the Like a Virgin Contest for YA/NA unpublished manuscripts. Here are my answers to some Firsts...
  1. How do you remember your first kiss? wet and sloppy. No it wasn't with a dog.
  2. What was your first favorite love song? In Your Eyes
  3. What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day? Review what I did yesterday.
  4. Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer? Dr. Seuss but who can really do that? So, JK Rowling
  5. Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with? Nope. I cut like 20 pages and changed from third to first person. Yikes, that was hard to do.
  6. For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting? Characters came first and then I had to get them into trouble and it took off from there.
  7. What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing? memorable

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Protecting Your Work

The 4th of July turned out to be a soggy, wet day here in Ohio.  Our family plans to enjoy an evening of mini-golf and possibly some fireworks were quickly thwarted by mother nature. Instead, we settled for dinner at a nice, casual restaurant. We were seated in a section of the restaurant--which was incredibly busy, that was kid-friendly. The walls of the room
Lucky finds all the copyright talk exhausting...
were painted with characters like: Snoopy, Lucy and Charlie Brown, Bugs Bunny, Sponge Bob and even Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Seeing these characters displayed on the walls made me wonder if the restaurant received permission.  In displaying the images, there is the implication that the restaurant is somehow affiliated with these characters and by association, the companies that created them. Most of the companies that handle the copyright for these characters are very careful in where these characters appear, so that raised even more questions (It's possible that the restaurant did receive the necessary permission for use of these likenesses, I don't mean to suggest otherwise or that their use of these images represented any malice on their part).

It made me wonder in this digital age what we, as writers, should do to protect our work. As I contemplate releasing my first novel as an e-book, I did a bit of research into this matter. I found some interesting information in the area of copyrights. First of all, the length of a copyright is not the same for all works, it varies depending on when the work was published. All works published after 1978 carry their copyright for the length of the author's life plus 70 years. Works published before 1923 are in the public domain. Works that are published anonymously, or under a pseudonym, are covered between 90 and 120 years depending when the work is published.

I also found out that once a work is fixed,--when a work appears in some tangible form, it is covered by copyright. Tangible forms include: emails, ebooks and hard copies of manuscripts, but even hand-written diaries fulfill the fixed requirement. Live performances, such as speeches, that have not been transcribed or recorded with the permission of the artist would not be covered by a copyright.

So if you write it, it will be covered. Oh yeah, that great idea you have, that's not covered until you put it down on paper...

For more information, the includes some important information in this area.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

On the 4th of July

With a tear in your eye for the 4th of July,
For the patriots, and the minutemen and the things you believe, they believed in then,
Such as Freedom, Freedom’s land and the kingdom of God and the Rights of man,
-          James Taylor
-          On the 4th of July

 Happy Fourth of July! 
 That sounds so natural to say, but July 2nd was the actual date that the Continental Congress voted for Independence. John Adams wrote in his diary that July 2nd would be celebrated with fireworks. He got most of that right. So why do we celebrate 4th of July as our Independence Day?  July 4th was the date that appeared on The Declaration of Independence document. The actual signing ceremony didn't occur until August 2nd.

Our Founding Fathers were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment Thinkers of the time. The ideas of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness came directly from John Locke and his Two Treatises of Government. Jefferson also referenced the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his belief that government must be at the consent of the people it governs. Jefferson believed that the King had lost the consent of the people and therefore his power over the colonies was thereby nullified. Montesquieu in his Spirit of Laws presented the idea of checks and balances; a system which became the foundation by which our three branches of government was formed.

It’s hard to say where we’d be today if our Founding Fathers hadn't sought the knowledge of these men as their ideas are strongly woven into the Declaration of Independence and provided the foundation for which our nation was built. One only needs to read the words of Jefferson to see those influences.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
-Declaration of Independence, 1776

 Happy 4th of July, I'm back writing this blog...