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plagiarism...kinda

#1 User is offline   spartan301 

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 02:33 AM

Hello, I am an aspiring writer and have my first book in the works but i have 2 main issues. Naming things but I've found a lot and a tread in here on that but I don't know if this is a dumb question or something others have problems with but I seem to notice i have problems when i read other great and inspiring books and then I tend to copy them in a sense. Not completely but it just effects my writing. It's kinda hard to explain but like if i find an awesome character profile or a cool civilization that would go good in my book i tend to want to use it even my language or wording changes. I change things of course I'd never ever want to copy or dis credit other of the many great authors but i guess I am wounding if doing that kind of stuff is okay or not. I don't know there is so many books out there, i just assume that pretty much every thing i could think of someone has thought of before. I could just think of a theme and it's been done before and there is only so many different character profiles someone can use but is that okay just to change things a bit to make it not plagiarism or am i maybe not creative enough to think of a completely new thing for every aspect of my own works.

I should also say i love reading more than writing but all my life I've wanted to write a book. I am not writing for anyone but me and if others read it and like it that be awesome but mainly just started writing because i like it and not doing this to make a ton of money nor do i expect to even be published but i guess i was just pondering this question and would like to see what other writers thought about it.
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#2 User is offline   Gorefest 

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 01:21 PM

Well, I think there is a theory out there that states that all stories can be considered to stem from one or a combination of seven basic story concepts. So in that sense, every writer anywhere at any point in time will have been influenced in some way by existing stories. So as long as you don't copy stuff word for word, you probably don't have to worry about anything. Just be creative, give it a go, and don't worry about potentially wandering into existing author's realms. Heck, the entire existence of fan fiction is based on doing just that, deliberately.
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#3 User is offline   Maark Abbott 

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 06:31 PM

There's nothing wrong with similarities to other works but it's a fine line to tread. On my part, I have a character whose purpose is to comment on the similarities to other works (northern men in black cloaks running around in the snow, for example).
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#4 User is offline   spartan301 

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 07:05 PM

that makes sense, for example i use a lot of real life civilizations and use aspects of them. Also for example I didn't use a character like this but what if I took and iconic character like Darth Vader for all purposes but my book is not set in a future time so I take all those future aspects and change. Also the name would not fit in my book so that would be unique, but if I kept the character's personality would something like that be okay or too much. I like to use people I meet in my life as character personality's but using other authors works as aspiration, I don't know guess it feels kinda wrong in a sense but it make things a little easier. I assume this is all my inexperience as a writer but I am not sure.

This post has been edited by spartan301: 11 January 2016 - 07:06 PM

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#5 User is offline   amphibian 

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 08:45 PM

In the early goings, much of what you are writing will be copying others.

So you copy, copy, copy, until it isn't copying anymore. You've copied so much that you've internalized the logic, the way things fit together, the writing skills, and more. The pages and characters come out of you in a fresh, recombined way.
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#6 User is offline   Maark Abbott 

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 01:11 PM

I think Joe Abercrombie said something to that effect in an interview. On my part, I've had the same anxiety once or twice. I have a faction that isn't dissimilar to GRRM's Night's Watch and Britain's Black Shields (though I didn't know Britain when I incepted them), a main character who is similar enough to Sanderson's Vin that another character lampshades it more than once, a stereotypical north/south divide and more than one allusion to Skies of Arcadia (airships, Spanish-y empire etc).

It's how you blend the influences together into something your own which makes it work. And it's a worthwhile journey to make.
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#7 User is offline   Solidsnape 

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 04:50 AM

View PostMaark, on 13 January 2016 - 01:11 PM, said:

I think Joe Abercrombie said something to that effect in an interview. On my part, I've had the same anxiety once or twice. I have a faction that isn't dissimilar to GRRM's Night's Watch and Britain's Black Shields (though I didn't know Britain when I incepted them), a main character who is similar enough to Sanderson's Vin that another character lampshades it more than once, a stereotypical north/south divide and more than one allusion to Skies of Arcadia (airships, Spanish-y empire etc).

It's how you blend the influences together into something your own which makes it work. And it's a worthwhile journey to make.


Don't you find its the same with pretty much all art forms?
I have the exact same problem with music.

Everything has already been done, just not in every conceivable order.
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#8 User is offline   Maark Abbott 

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Posted 14 January 2016 - 11:33 AM

View PostSolidsnape, on 14 January 2016 - 04:50 AM, said:

View PostMaark, on 13 January 2016 - 01:11 PM, said:

I think Joe Abercrombie said something to that effect in an interview. On my part, I've had the same anxiety once or twice. I have a faction that isn't dissimilar to GRRM's Night's Watch and Britain's Black Shields (though I didn't know Britain when I incepted them), a main character who is similar enough to Sanderson's Vin that another character lampshades it more than once, a stereotypical north/south divide and more than one allusion to Skies of Arcadia (airships, Spanish-y empire etc).

It's how you blend the influences together into something your own which makes it work. And it's a worthwhile journey to make.


Don't you find its the same with pretty much all art forms?
I have the exact same problem with music.

Everything has already been done, just not in every conceivable order.


Yeah, pretty much. Yet in spite of this, new bands are still creating music that sounds fresh and inspired. It's all down to how those influences are blended up together.
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#9 User is offline   protoclave 

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 02:50 AM

View PostGorefest, on 11 January 2016 - 01:21 PM, said:

Well, I think there is a theory out there that states that all stories can be considered to stem from one or a combination of seven basic story concepts. So in that sense, every writer anywhere at any point in time will have been influenced in some way by existing stories. So as long as you don't copy stuff word for word, you probably don't have to worry about anything. Just be creative, give it a go, and don't worry about potentially wandering into existing author's realms. Heck, the entire existence of fan fiction is based on doing just that, deliberately.


All the great writers copy whole books or chapters from other writers. But they don't publish it. there comes a time when you know you should stop. And they copy from many authors not just one. its one of the great secrets of writing. plagiarism is only if you publish it. so if you copy a page, chapter, or complete novel word for word or even use it for inspiration; don't publish it or show it to anyone but keep it to yourself. Those stories are not for displaying. as for the most important secret I think erikson has given it in one of his interviews. Just write and don't give your self expectations. After you have written a million words and read a million words than you will have something unique. Thats what all the advice from other author's points to.

I would advice you to get the book: 101 habits of successful authors. and just keep writing and reading.
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#10 User is offline   RACHEL 

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 07:39 PM

I'm guessing that you were posting from your phone and you were in a rush, and / or English is not your first language. If this is not the case then it doesn't matter if you steal ideas because no one would publish a book with as many mistakes as your above posts.
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#11 User is offline   cliftonprince 

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 09:56 PM

Practice by using someone else's recipes over and over until you know that you can cook. Then make a really good dinner. By then, it won't matter whether the dinner is based on someone else's recipe or not, since it will have your flavors in it. And meanwhile, you'll start to find it impossible to resist the temptation to cook something new, fpr which you don't have a recipe from anyone else.

Plagiarism is the soul of all literature. Nobody has ever escaped the anxiety of Homer's influence, if he's heard of Homer. Just insert enough of your own flavoring that it makes sure you've got a good book, a great read, something you're proud of, rather than something about which everyone says, "Hey, he's plagiarizing, and that makes it an unenjoyable book, a bad read, something he shouldn't be proud of." You need both steps. First, enough of your own flavor is needed. But second, it doesn't have to be entirely your own. In fact, all that's needed, is enough of your own flavor that your readers become satisfied. I can think of several books which are so obviously derivative of earlier works in the fantasy genre, that many readers would say, "Hey, he's practically plagiarizing!" But they like the books anyway, and they probably wouldn't want to add, "and that makes it a bad read." Tolerance for plagiarism is higher among the readers of literature, especially among the readers of genre-literature like fantasy, than it is among college professors or high-school teachers looking to give you a grade. I urge you to cheat. A lot.

For me, it all starts with style. And style starts, inevitably, even earlier, with grammar. I believe that my written prose is different, better, clearer than what I've read by many fantasy writers. (In two chapters of Memories of Ice, I've come across the use of "disorientated" twice. Hello, writer? Editor? It's "disoriented." Grating!) If I end up regurgitating the last battle from Star Wars: Phantom Menace action for action, totally without my own creative input, but I say it better than anyone else before me has ever said it, I might even have a right to name the lead character "Lou K. Sky, a Walker." (Just kidding ... sort of ...)
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