Note to Self (219) Writerly Wednesdays – A thought on #plagiarism, the creative process and #inspiration

51F0gnKYGkL._AA160_I started a new book yesterday, after spending quite a lovely evening with my pals, and frankly, it was a blast. The evening didn’t end on a bitter note when I downloaded on my Kindle this great novel – Blood Zero Sky by J. Gabriel Gates. I found this book completely by accident, as the author started following me on Twitter. Interested by his profile, I checked out his website, and a few seconds later, bought his novel. The first two chapters really rocked my world. I can’t wait to read more.

His story is not something that has never been written before. A futuristic world, where the government has become a ruthless dictatorship, and people fear for their livelihood by overworking themselves and turning into slaves, is a topic that has been done, redone, and re-redone. 1984 anyone?? And yes, I know I bitched about John Dies At The End because the author used the time-space continuum as base for his plot – or I should say lack thereof – and I criticized his work because I felt like I was being hammered over the head with a poorly-executed concept I knew all too well. That’s all. Not because he sold thousands of copies and got a movie made after the book.

Where I’m going at, is plagiarism and the use of ideas and concepts that aren’t original. And yes, unless we go back to the dawn of mankind, no idea will ever be truly original. Let’s be honest, everything has been written about. I don’t care if the story involves sci-fi, zombies, vampires, impossible love, homosexuality, bestiality, pornography, pedophilia, cannibalism, serial killers, psycho-lovers, crazy bitches and funky rabbits who talk and do tricks while dying their fur purple, as long as you can pull off a successful tale that’s gonna knock my socks off, I’m with you all the way. And J. Gabriel Gates did that for me.

More examples. Greg Sisco, whom I’m really a fan of, wrote about vampires, and he did a fabulous job too! Who else? Oh right, my good friend Krystal Wade talks about plagiarism on her blog today, check the link here, and she mentions Suzanne Collins and Stephenie Meyer after reading comments of an angry reader who basically bashed Collins’ and Meyer’s works by claiming The Hunger Games and The Host were mere copies of Invasion of The Body Snatchers and Battle Royale.

Alright. Let’s just cut it to the chase. When someone comes up with an idea, and develops that idea into a story, and then someone else redevelops the same idea and creates an even better story, it’s not plagiarism. This, my friends, is called inspiration and creation, which means the creative process is endless, and therefore, accessible to anyone whose brains are not completely fried by too much pot-smoking. Here. If I copy The Hunger Games word for word and put my name at the bottom, this is plagiarism because I didn’t create anything. I used your work and pretended it was mine. You know, just like kids do in school when they turn in a paper and entire sections are from a totally different individual. I’ve been accused of plagiarism many times in my early childhood, because teachers didn’t believe the stuff I wrote was actually mine. And it was. They were just too dumb to realize it.

Battle Royale honestly sucked. I like The Hunger Games much better. Just like I’m gonna dig Interview With A Vampire and I’m gonna puke on the whole Twilight saga. Like I said yesterday, taste is a matter of personal preferences. Just like when you get dressed in the morning and you decide to wear pink floral pattern skinny jeans with neon orange flip flops although it’s like 40 outside, and an off-white knitted sleeveless sweater turned grey because you haven’t washed it since you bought it like one century ago, but hey, who am I you tell you what to do first thing when you wake up and you don’t spend enough time checking your outfit out in the mirror before walking into the outside world? I’m nobody. I’m just another human being, who’s gonna throw you a confused glance on the subway, because honestly, what the fuck were you thinking this morning, yet, unless you are equipped of an apparatus that can actually read my thoughts, our entire encounter will stop here and my thoughts are safe, and you can go on with your day, and I can write about you later on my blog. Unless you dressed up this way because you wanted to copy your favorite singer Rihanna. Well, whatever your intentions were, you helped inspire me.

We, authors, are brainstorming all the time by reading each other’s work and stealing each other’s ideas. That’s the way the gravy train rolls! And yes, some are more successful at it than others. Some sell millions of copies, and others well, don’t. I’m pretty sure that after reading my own work you’re gonna tell me I copied Inception. Duh. Inception inspired me. I didn’t actually copy it. I do a lot of weird stuff in my life, but being a copycat isn’t one of them.

So yeah. Go check out Blood Zero Sky. And all the other books I mentioned above. As a species, we have been gifted with intelligence and we can create stuff that will blow your mind out. Good stuff, bad stuff, we got the freedom to choose! Whoot! How cool is that? So if you don’t like something, toss it aside and pick something else you’ll like better. No one’s forcing you at gunpoint to read stuff you don’t wanna read. The day I get a gun barrel pressed against my delicate temple to read a freaking book that sucks, you’ll hear me rant about it for centuries. Unless of course, I’m dead and I can’t write about it because it’s hard to type when you’re six feet under. But we haven’t come to that. Yet.

Speaking of censorship and freedom of speech, we live in a country where we can read pretty much anything we want, so let’s take advantage of it instead of hating each other. Jealousy doesn’t make you beautiful. Drop the bitter attitude, and shine on to brighter horizons.

Life’s too short to hold resentments against authors you don’t even know personally. Just saying. If they had rammed you in the back of your car while you were stopped at a red light, I’d understand better, but acting all cranky puss just because their work sells and yours doesn’t doesn’t entitle you to the bitching award of the month. Unless you insist, and I’ll draw a special award for you. Because you’re so special, you little rant.

So quit whining and read on!

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