Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Question to writers


Ralph J. Whitehead
 Share

Recommended Posts

I am just a bit curious about how other writers tackle some of the issues they face when trying to put a book together. This is for anyone who has written a book, is writing a book, or is just starting to think about one.

Certain sections are fairly easy and have firm boundaries, in the sense of a time frame, unit action, etc. However, what do you do when faced with multiple units fighting in the same locations with different entry and exit dates, etc.? Also, do you write in a linear manner, I mean do you start at the beginning of your story and work until the end without any alteration? Or, like me, do you write in sections, sometimes jumping from one section or date to another and then back again. Finally, when all the individual pieces are finished, then weave it all together so that the story flows as you would like it to read?

Just a bit curious on how everyone else tackles the job, thanks.

Ralph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

With my North Eastern Railway in WW1 book it was linear, although certain sections which I wanted to keep together, but for the periods of time they happened across wouldn't work to be put in one of the linear chapters (basically one chapter per year) had a separate chapter after the linear structure - so after '1919 and beyond' it goes to 'On War Service' (locomotives, motor vehicles, police dogs etc at war), Women in North Eastern Railway service, the Darlington Munitions Factory, North Eastern Railway Battalion etc.

I'll be doing similar with my 'Bloody Paralysers - the giant Handley Page bombers of the First World War' book but this is more strictly linear, with deviations which don't stick to the main topic of the HP's on the western front dealt with in smaller chapters when the main 'action' occured

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More often than not it is a linear design due to setting the events. However, there are times when a point can be strongly made with a judicious use of information.

Jonathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ralph,

The method I use now is a timeline. That way as I find material I can insert it into the timeline. I have found that many historical documents/accounts do not keep the timeline straight and when you straighten it out everything looks quite different. So if it is days I've used days and if it is hours I use hours. Just a method – works for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it depends on the subject.

'Swansea and the Workhouse' was 'thematic' e.g. chapters on food, discipline, workhouse officers etc. and within each chapter it was chronological.

'Swansea Pals' lent itself to a straight chronological chapter arrangement, 1914 to 1918 and beyond.

'Foul Deeds...' was chronological with one foul deed being a chapter and arranged in oldest to most recent case chapters.

'Swansea in the Great War' will be thematic with e.g. recruitment, industry, food, relief being chapters each of which will be chronological in themselves.

I don't write on a strict 'chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3' basis. I might just tackle whatever is convenient in terms of e.g. where I an with the research for a particular chapter.

Bernard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all of the replies. Linear works best in most cases for me. In saying that, I will jump from one period/chapter to another just to stay fresh. I sometimes get stuck on a section and by changing focus, when I return to the problem area, it seems to fall into place easily.

Right now I have returned to the So me in July, three main areas of fighting, six to seven different regiments coming in at different times and dates, at battalion or company level. Then add in specialty units and trying to weave a readable account from day to day, from sector to sector has been challenging. Now I know why I am so happy when at least the first draft is done, the comes the editing portion to refine it until I am satisfied.

Merry Christmas to one and all.

Ralph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Finished most of my book on the Aisne 1918, very much in a linear framework. Most of the book has looked at the British side, but it has been tricky when trying to look at the German side as well, which obviously overlaps, so difficult to dovetail both sides.

David

Seasons Greetings, Ralph.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As an aside to the main theme of this thread, but related, can anyone provide guidelines regarding the copyright rules and regulations in relation to the reproduction of photographic images in any publication?

Andy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For my book for P&S on 9th East Surrey, I wrote the second chapter first, as a dramatic one to offer as a specimen to help 'sell' the book to the publisher. I then wrote the others generally in order, but sometimes not and sometimes working on more than one simultaneously. I also wrote a ' review chapter' looking at various themes in more depth that I had touched on earlier in the book, as well as a separate one on issues related to Sherriff's 'Journey's End'. For the narrative chapters I looked at the regimental history and battalion war diary first. I then added material from additional sources,including German,one by one. As I don't read German I was very fortunate in having a son who not only reads the language, but was able to undertake extensive research for me.

Once you have a draft you can keep refining the writing and adding any further detail/ correcting errors of fact. Sources don't always agree, even from the same side of no man's land, and on important issues where you can't resolve matters, you just have to set out the conflicting accounts with any necessary comment .

Michael

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It all depends.

I have written three books so far, and each one is different.

One was easily and best on a timeline as it dealt with day by day details.

The second was a fifty year history of my church dealing with all sorts of subjects. I wrote about 20,000 words on a timeline and realised that I had lost myself let alone anyone else.

You try doing a chapter on say, 1995, with development of the constitution, the new chaplain, the choir, etc etc. paragraph by paragraph. It's a shambles.

I tore it all up (well, pressed the delete button), and started again with a chapter for each subject. That worked a treat.

Basically, you have to start writing and see what happens.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are threads on copyright on the Forum.

My general view (which may be incorrect!) is that for newspaper or book images, in the UK copyright runs out 70 years after publication, assuming the photographer is not named; if he/she is named its probably 70 years after his/her death unless copyright was assigned to the publisher.

Generally its 70 years after the death of the photographer for images he/she created.

In my experience its often hard to find who took an image and, even if you know its Joe Bloggs from the High Street, just when they died. Exercise caution but don't get paralysed by it...

Bernard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are threads on copyright on the Forum.

My general view (which may be incorrect!) is that for newspaper or book images, in the UK copyright runs out 70 years after publication, assuming the photographer is not named; if he/she is named its probably 70 years after his/her death unless copyright was assigned to the publisher.

Generally its 70 years after the death of the photographer for images he/she created.

In my experience its often hard to find who took an image and, even if you know its Joe Bloggs from the High Street, just when they died. Exercise caution but don't get paralysed by it...

Bernard

Problem is that some are paranoid and just down right nasty about copyright.

Last week I had a mail from one company I do a little guiding for saying that everyone on their books should be very careful about copyright on photos as they had just had a demand for nearly 12000 dollars for using photos that a certain US company hold the copyright of, that people had put on websites without permission. The photos in question were taken by professionals at WW1 time and picked up by them for little or nothing, but now they demand with menaces a licence fee for using them!

At least the national photo archives here (and they are extensive) sell a copy of any of their photos and the fee for reproduction includes a licence fee. If they don't hold the copyright to the photo in question, the problem is their's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Admin

Problem is that some are paranoid and just down right nasty about copyright.

Last week I had a mail from one company I do a little guiding for saying that everyone on their books should be very careful about copyright on photos as they had just had a demand for nearly 12000 dollars for using photos that a certain US company hold the copyright of, that people had put on websites without permission. The photos in question were taken by professionals at WW1 time and picked up by them for little or nothing, but now they demand with menaces a licence fee for using them!

At least the national photo archives here (and they are extensive) sell a copy of any of their photos and the fee for reproduction includes a licence fee. If they don't hold the copyright to the photo in question, the problem is their's.

While the original photos may be out of copyright, if the US company made electronic copies they will hold copyright for those new images and are withion their rights to ask for licence fees.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Exercise caution...

Bernard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In regard to copyright. I follow the rule, if it is a book, try yo locate the autor, publisher, etc. if it falls inside the copyright period. I have used some illustrations from period books after a long search and if needed, a ntr that if anything was copyrighted and could not be identified I would be glad to give all credit due. So far, no issues.

In the case of photos, I rely pon ebay to find them. It seems that there are hundreds to choose from. As you own the photo, as most were taken by individuals and not part of some larger official project, then as far as I am concerned, these can be used without issue.

Of course, here in the U.S. we have something called reasonable use or somthing similar, just make sure you properly identify the source, etc. as well as.limiting the use, to what level I cannot recall.

Ralph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lets face it: many of us have been given a copy of a photo by 'Mrs Jones' and told that its her grand-dad. We assume there are no copyright issues as Mrs J is happy for us to use it but, in the strict letter of the law, if the chap actually taking the snap died in, say, 1950, then the chances are that copyright in the UK expires in 2020. I think...

Again, exercise caution. If in doubt try and get something similar (if its a 'general' shot, obviously tricky if you really need Private Bloggs, service number 231666) off Wikipedia that is stated to be in the public domain.

Bernard

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...