If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.














January Interviews
1/1 Sherry Harris, Sell Low, Sweet Harriet
1/8 Barbara Ross, Sealed Off
1/15 Libby Klein, Theater Nights Are Murder
1/22 Carol Pouliot, Doorway To Murder
1/29 Julia Buckley, Death with A Dark Red Rose

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
1/4 Lisa Lieberman
1/11 Karen McCarthy
1/18 Trey Baker

WWK Bloggers: 1/25 Kait Carson, 1/30 E. B. Davis

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Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!


KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.


Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.


Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.


Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30. It is now also available in audio.

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Monday, April 23, 2018

Writing and Righting Wrongs by Warren Bull






This blog was previously published on April 8th, 2011.                                                   E. B. Davis
 
In 1987, after ten years of research, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin published The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys: An American Saga, a 900 page books and 3,500 footnotes. That year author and historian Lynne McTaggart contacted Ms. Goodwin and pointed out that Ms. Goodwin had used Ms. McTaggart’s work extensively without proper acknowledgement. In places Ms. Goodwin used Ms. McTaggart’s work word by word without quote marks. Ms, Goodwin investigated, found that the criticism was correct. She took several steps to correct the situation.

Ms. Goodwin halted publication, publically acknowledged her errors and apologized. She examined the book carefully, and discovered other citation errors. She also reached a financial legal settlement with Ms. McTaggart who later proclaimed that she was satisfied with the results. Ms. McTaggart said Ms. Goodwin’s book incorporated new information was a valuable addition to the field of history.
Ms. Goodwin noted that her record keeping method, hand-written notes kept in cardboard cartons, was not adequate and later with help from her college-age son she improved her method. A corrected version of the book acceptable to both authors was issued. 

All of that became “news” fourteen years later about the time the Stephen Ambrose was discovered to have plagiarized extensive material in at least four of his books. Even now when authors are accused of falsehood and plagiarism, she is likely to be used as an example.
As an author I know how easy it is inadvertently copy while intending only to take notes. I also know how often I get confused using notes with computer programs. I have slogged through a thesis and a dissertation using methods similar to what Ms. Goodwin’s initially used. I know that writing citations correctly often left me with an aching head and strained eyes.

Ms. Goodwin is a best-selling author, a presidential historian and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her work. I enjoy all of her books and my favorite work of her is her memoir Wait Till Next Year.
I admire her writing abilities, her diligence as a historian and I enjoy listening to her opinions on television. Most of all I admire her response to making mistakes. I invite her critics to line up and cast stones — as long, of course, as they have been mistake-free since, oh say, 1987. For the rest of us I commend her as an example of how to handle our mistakes. 

At a time when phrases like, “Mistakes were made” (Where? In a factory outside Akron, Ohio?); “I’m sorry if you felt offended”(You overly sensitive and immature twit) and “My behavior was inappropriate” (Thus labeling an error as about on a par with using the wrong fork at diner.) I believe Ms. Goodwin provided a model of responsibility and maturity by admitting her mistakes in full with detail, making good damage to those harmed, apologizing and changing the behavior that led to the error. The next time she is mentioned for making mistakes, I think the mention should include how well she corrected them.

What’s your opinion?

13 comments:

Victor J. Banis said...

In my entire (long) writing career, I have lived in dread of being so accused. Things pop into my head, and try though I might, I can't tell if they are original ideas or something I read somewhere else. It doesn't help that I am totally disorganized and in general do it all in my crammed-full head. If it ever happens, I'll look to her for an example.

Ramona said...

Warren, so nicely put. I admire Doris Goodwin and her work, and this may sound sexist, but she acted both like a professional and a lady during this episode.

I love that you mention the infamous "Mistakes were made" quote. That one glosses over a multitude of sins, but a multitude of sinners. I use it as an example all the time in workshops.

Warren Bull said...

Victor, I have the same experience. Sometimes I read something I wrote long ago and barely recognize it. At least if I repeat myself I'm not plagiarizing. I'm just being redundant and probably boring.

Warren Bull said...

Hi, Ramona, It's always nice to hear from you. I agree with you about Ms. Goodwin. I thought she acted like a lady, i.e, with grace and courtesy. She one of my writing heroes.

Pauline Alldred said...

Doris Goodwin behaved professionally and with courage. Most important of all, she corrected her mistake.

Apologies made by politicians and Tiger Woods seem false to me. Am I picking up on body language or is the false note because the media has forced an apology? Anyway, I don't see much correction taking place.

Warren Bull said...

Pauline, I don't see much correction either. My favorite non-apology came from Al Gore who in defending his actions at an illegal fund raiser said. "I'm proud of what I did. I did nothing wrong and I'll never do it again."

Camille Minichino said...

Thanks for an excellent post. I, too, cringe at "apologies" from politicians and celebrities, especially when you know they're sorry only that they were caught.

I'm a huge Goodwin fan ("Team of Rivals" is my favorite) and was happy to be reminded of another reason to stay a fan.

Warren Bull said...

Camille,

Thanks for your comments. Team of Rivals is a great book.

Dory said...

1987?

Now, if we could just 'clone' Doris Goodwin, and bottle her mindset, we could impose her ethics upon today's potentlal plagiarists via a pill.

Problem solved. ;)

Well done article.

Warren Bull said...

Dear Equalizer,

Yes, 1987 and it became "news" 14 years later. Earlier this week there was an article on my computer news feed section from a newspaper that announced Abraham Lincoln once thought about shipping Blacks out of the country. News flash from me: Later he changed his mind. PS He died almost 150 years ago.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely commend Ms. Goodwin on owning up to her mistakes, & rectifying the situation. It helps to know that there are people out there who remain ethically-conscious.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Nothing's changed: ethical and responsible non-fiction is more than a goal, it's a responsibility to get it accurate the first time.

Gloria Alden said...

Warren, I'd like to think that everything I write is original, but being the avid reader that I am I suppose it's possible that a line here or there is something I've read. I've never heard of Doris Goodwin before or if I had, I've forgotten here. She sounds like an admirable woman.