Truth, Lies & Other Inconveniences

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Is it Ethical to Steal Another Writer’s Words?

“Originality is undetected plagiarism.” William Inge T.S. Elliot[1] famously said, “Mediocre writers borrow, great writers steal.” As always, he put it plainly. Ralph Waldo Emerson put it obliquely: “Commit a crime and the earth...

Historical Fiction

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Is Historical Fiction Ethical? Part Two.

“Your consciousness is your contribution to reality. What you perceive as real becomes real.” Rumi In Part One of this topic, I blogged about historical fiction—that is—fact or fiction. Do historical fiction writers tell the...

Humor & Poetry

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What are the Ethics of Poetry?

“Poetry is a raid on the inarticulate” T.S. Eliot “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”  Robert Frost Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound...

Writing writ Large

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What Are the Ethical Liabilities of Writing

“Now I live in the company of a few disobedient words.” Karl Krolow The University of Richmond’s Writing Center affirms the ethical liabilities of writing on its home page.[1] Its writing faculty suggests writers focus not only...

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Is Memoir Writing Truthful or Just Therapy?

“When I was younger I could remember everything, whether it had happened or not.” Mark Twain Given the ethical dilemma inherent in writing memoir, we should consult Mr. Merriam and Madame Webster to define the term rather than...

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Is Historical Fiction Ethical? Part Two.

“Your consciousness is your contribution to reality. What you perceive as real becomes real.” Rumi In Part One of this topic, I blogged about historical fiction—that is—fact or fiction. Do historical fiction writers tell the...

Read More

Is it Ethical to Steal Another Writer’s Words?

“Originality is undetected plagiarism.” William Inge T.S. Elliot[1] famously said, “Mediocre writers borrow, great writers steal.” As always, he put it plainly. Ralph Waldo Emerson put it obliquely: “Commit a crime and the earth...

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Are There Ethical Norms in Fiction Writing?

“What can be said, lacks reality. Only what fails to make its way into words exists and counts.” E.M. Cicoran Ron Hansen’s[1] essay, “The Ethics of Fiction Writing,” is provocative and dead-on: “The first principle of the...

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What Does ‘TRUTH ISN’T TRUTH’ Mean?

“One must use a brazen lie to convince people of a reality of a higher and deeper order.” Jean Cocteau Over the course of the last thirty years, I’ve written many pieces about truth. Truth in law. Truth in court.  Truth by...

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Do All Novelists Have Ethical Tricks of the Trade?

Probably. Well, it’s probable that all successful novelists, who’ve actually published novels, have tricks of the trade. It’s virtually certain that some novelists, particularly those who have not published one, are sans tricks...

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What are the Ethics of Poetry?

“Poetry is a raid on the inarticulate” T.S. Eliot “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.”  Robert Frost Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language—such as phonaesthetics, sound...

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The Ethics of Storytelling

The title, “The Ethics of Storytelling,” is not mine. It belongs to an author named Daniel Taylor. He wrote an essay in 1995 published in the Mars Hill Review.[1] He wrote about, but did not define the relationship between those...

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What Are the Ethical Liabilities of Writing

“Now I live in the company of a few disobedient words.” Karl Krolow The University of Richmond’s Writing Center affirms the ethical liabilities of writing on its home page.[1] Its writing faculty suggests writers focus not only...

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About Gary L. Stuart

Gary L StuartI am an author and a part-time lawyer with a focus on ethics and professional discipline. I teach creative writing and ethics to law students at Arizona State University. Read my bio.

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