As a writer I have a real fear of plagiarism. I’m moderately fearful that someone could take my work, claim it as their own and diddle me out of something (what, I don’t know). But my real fear of plagiarism comes from not wanting to be accused of plagiarism. I want my work to be original, creative and something interesting. So if I stole ideas from else where it would be none of these things.
Now obviously as it’s a fear of mine I don’t go around collecting up other peoples ideas so that I can weave a plot together with them. Or worse still just copy one story line from one source to call my own. But I regularly come up with ideas for plots, small character quirks, settings, maybe even character interactions that I end up never using because I’m concerned that they are a bit too similar so something else. Sometimes it’s even worse than that and I have a great idea, I get really excited about it, I write it out and gleefully hand it to one of my siblings to look over. Then they rather dispondently hand it back saying they liked it but doesn’t that seem a bit too similar to Farscape or Firefly or whatever scif fi they have watched and I haven’t…
That’s the worst part, plagiarising something you haven’t ever seen/read/heard. It’s not really plagiarism but it might as well be for all anyone cares.
The way I see it I have five options. Number one, give up and never write again (probably not going to happen). Number two, steal all the ideas and plagiarise everything ever! (Also don’t see myself doing that). Number three, watch, read and listen to everything sci fi that ever existed so as not to copy any of it (not only would this take a really long time it would probably leave me with very little to work with). Number four, write such an insane plot line with ridiculously “quirky” characters that no one in their right mind would have put together into one story (whilst original and “creative” not going to get me much literary respect) And finally number five, be true to the story I have in my mind and the characters I have created. It’s unlikely I’ll ever actually plagiarise anything in it’s entirety by chance so surely my work would still be original, right?
Obviously I’m going to plump for option five. I’m going to just keep persevering with my work, telling the story I have to tell. I’m a pretty odd individual so I’d be surprised if there was anyone out there who had already had my thought processes. Oddity has got to be useful for something I guess. But I won’t lie it can still be disheartening when you share a great new idea you had with someone and they inform you it’s already been had. And that isn’t just limited to writing, I’m sure it’s happened to most people.
I’m positive I’m not alone in this so let me know what you think and how you get around a fear of plagiarising. Maybe there’s more than those five options.
P.S I nearly forgot to mention that the next chapter of Closer To The Core will be released tomorrow/today. Depends what time zone you are in. It’s technically Thursday already here. Anyway it’s releasing Thursday. Hope you’ll enjoy it.