BEANERY ONLINE LITERARY MAGAZINE
USE OF QUOTATIONS IN WRITING
Types of Quotations
Quotations add interest and authority to a piece of written work.
There are two types of quotations, direct and indirect. Direct quotations use the exact language, either spoken or written, from a source outside of our own writing or speech, and must rest between a set of quotation marks. Nothing of the quote can be changed. Direct quotations are useful if the source material has particularly striking or notable language.
Indirect quotations do not use the exact wording from the source. Indirect quotations rephrase or summarize the source’s words. As such, they do not require the use of quotation marks. There can be creativity when using indirect quotations. In my historical fiction writing, I’ve taken statements from letters and documents and converted them into natural conversation.
For the purpose of illustrating this post, I will use a controversy concerning a 1790s character in both my historic journal article and my historic romance novel, Madame Rosalie Bacler de Leval.
While in the United States escaping the French Revolution, she attempted to become a land speculator by negotiating with Gen. Henry Knox, Col. William Duer, and Knox’s agent, Gen. Henry Jackson, to purchase of a large tract of land in Downeast Maine. To illustrate the ways quotes are used, I will take one controversial issue: was Madame married or not before she emigrated from France? Since there is no actual documentation of her marriage in France, either side of the argument can be supported by circumstantial “evidence” gleaned from outside sources.
“Madame Leval, who was a mistress of Calonne’s and many others in France, came over to this country and was connected with Duer,” Alexander Baring wrote.
“…but for God’s sake don’t communicate it to your best friends—her husband is a diminutively idle man, not in possession of a liver…,” Gen. Jackson told Gen. Knox.
“He could not believe that she had married van Berckle since she was married to another.”
According to B. H., who wrote confidentially to Jackson, Madame had no financial resources beyond herself. In fact, she had no means of meeting the financial obligations of her contract. Nor does her husband, who is a diminutively idle man, not in possession of a livre.
It is reputed that Madame was not only Calonne’s mistress, but that she was the mistress of many other men in France as well.”199
Jackson told Knox that it was unbelievable that Madame had married Van Berckle when she was already married. KM
USE OF QUOTATIONS IN FICTION
“I just received this letter from B. H.,” Gen. Jackson said, speaking to Gen. Knox. “He informed me that Madame’s husband was a diminutively idle man, not in possession of a livre. This fact is to be kept in strict confidence. How on earth does she intend on meeting the payments on her contract?”
“I cannot believe that she married van Berckle,” Gen. Jackson told Gen. Knox. “She’s married to someone else!”
Whether using direct or indirect quotations, the source material must both fit in with the flow of the writing and be cited. Without a citation, it will be plagiarism. The three quotations above came from Frederick Allis’s book, William Bingham’s Maine Lands, or the Henry Knox Manuscripts.