An interesting twist has occurred. The publisher of one of the ‘Killing time’ books has written back that in order to grant permission for my use of sentences, they would have to see the exact list of all quotations I am going to use. Writing back, I have explained the emergent nature of my selection choices, ending with a two-pronged proposal:
- I go ahead as planned, keep track of all sentences used, and supply the publisher with the full list once I am done. The publisher may then go through the list, and if there are any individual sentences they think I should not use, I’ll remove them from the text (this may leave nasty holes that may turn out to be difficult to plug)
- For the source in question, I deviate from the intended procedure and make a pre-selection of sentences (possibly including a change of all proper names) which I then submit to the publisher for approval
In a sense, selecting sentences from one book before the process starts and the text begins to take shape may prime the result in some way. But I have to start somewhere – so why not take one of the books and see what sentences resonate?
The permission conversation is starting to shape the outcome – which is as it should be.