I am a sucker for starting my books and sub-sections of books with famous quotes, or lines from famous texts. I just love it.
For two of the books I've written, I didn't have to search long for these - the quotes sort of found me. I finished writing the first drafts and randomly came across the fantastic quotes and by some strange miracle these ancient words lent themselves so perfectly to my stories. It was mind-boggling, thinking about how words penned centuries ago could still be so relevant today. And to my words! Wow.
The novel I'm working on now however, the same 'it-was-just-meant-to-be' moment didn't occur.
I knew the book would be split into three parts, and therefore needed three quotes to precede them, and an additional one for the whole novel. I had already decided that the third part of the book would be introduced by a verse from Romeo & Juliet. Therefore, I either needed 2-3 more sets of lines from the same play, or 2-3 other Shakespeare verses. I like the quotes in each book to be by the same author, you see, or at least linked in some way, e.g. quotes about love, music, or art.
It was only difficult to select the others because I had already written two books with quotes revolving around two major concepts and I wanted to focus on something different again. And I also wanted, like with the other books, for the quotes to reflect the themes and events covered in their respective sections. Preferably from the perspective of the character on which the section focuses on, or at least refer to that character's circumstances.
After weeks of reading Shakespeare at every spare moment I could squeeze out from my lunch break at work, I think I've found the perfect quotes. Excellent! The three part of the book will be preceded by verses from the same play (R&J) and the opening quote for the book is taken from a sonnet by the brilliant playwright himself.
At least with Shakespeare being public domain, I should hopefully be able to include each of the verses I want in their entirety. It's a different matter quoting copyrighted material - it would seem that you cannot actually obtain permission unless you have a publisher!
More on permissions in a later post, methinks. Now, I'm going to read some more Shakespeare!