Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Q & A 150
Help! In a work of fiction, how does one attribute snippets of poetry? In my case, I'm putting four-line snippets of public domain poetry (180 years old) at the beginning of six sections of a short story. Since they're all from the same poet, I thought of putting an attribution below the author's name, though that only works if only a single poet was robbed.
(poetry by Vlad Smith)
It was a dark and stormy night....
I would we weld,
Had she not smeld.
The second method has the disadvantage of being distracting if used often.
So that the question is more generally applicable to minions, you might provide guidance for song lyrics and snippets of fiction.
This is the shortest piece of writing I've ever seen that contained so many uses of the word "snippets." I'm surprised you didn't work "snippets" into the sample snippet. You could have rhymed it with Whippets.
Your first method might work if everyone's heard of the poet. Otherwise they'll think the story was a collaborative effort.
As for the second method, I think I'd find the poetry more distracting than the attributions, but if you want to lighten it a bit, I've seen just the author's initials used as attribution after the full name is used in the first one.
Do you really need six snippets in your story? If you're just taken with this poet, as I suddenly am with the word "snippets," I suggest you post the snippets here in the comments to get the idea out of your system.
As for song lyrics, my recommendation is to write your own lyrics. Whoever owns the rights to song lyrics, even snippets, will want money, and will want to see what you're doing with their snippets before they sell the rights. It's not worth the hassle. If you need lyrics and can't come up with any of your own, I'll write you some lyric snippets, free. Assuming you agree not to abuse my snippets.
Posted by Evil Editor at 2:13 PM