1. Impressions
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    Impressions New Member

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    debate on originality:copying styles, techniques and other influences inteferring with it.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Impressions, Nov 16, 2013.

    So,
    You were writing a paragraph about something, but then you realized it's from another book you've read a few years ago.

    Or that you've used a style or technique from another writer, before realizing it.

    or even how you use your own techniques to make it more interesting. because technique can serve as a mask for no-ideas what so ever.

    how do you approach your own originality?
    is it important to you?

    Today, in every artistic dimension(literature, Music, Art, Films) there are oceans of replicants, clones, and other robotic and non-original contents.
    especially in mainstream, where one formula is successful-everyone wants a piece of it, so they clone it.
    sometime the reason for this is like above-the need for money to survive. and sometimes its just lack of inspiration.

    which now relates to how inspiration acts on us.
    Suppose someone watches a movie, and then gets "inspires" by it, so he writes a novel.
    Do you think it's a legitimate way of being inspired? or from reading a book.
    we all get inspired from good books, even the masters. but do they copy ideas or techniques?
    I feel there is a very thin line from being a cloner, than one who is really learning from the arts and then makes it its own.


    The bottom question is, How do you deal with your own originality? especially when you realize you've only come up with just another mock up version .

    do you rewrite it entirely? do you ignore and count on your writing style? do you search for the seeds that were "You", the most original angle of viewpoint?

    What would you do!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2013
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    We are all influenced by what we read, watch, listen to, etc. So it's certainly a legit way of getting inspired. I am inclined to believe that early in his writing career, a writer's style is going to be close to that of another writer (most presumably a writer he looked up to). That's only natural. There certainly are cases where two authors use similar styles but are still unique in their own way. Just take William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy for example (you can throw in Toni Morrison as well). Both Morrison and McCarthy were heavily influenced by Faulkner's style, but both still manage to be very unique.

    At this point in my life, I'm not too worried about being different in terms of style. I know that eventually I'll develop my own style and uniqueness.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I have come to the conclusion that this is something that most writers at some point struggle with. Where do your influences end and where does your own voice begin?

    My own view is that inspiration is an intensely personal matter, and so there are no "illegitimate" ways to be influenced. But, what do we mean by "influence"? Do we mean that seeing a scene in a film or play has moved us to want to include a similar scene, issue or interaction in a story we want to write? Do we mean that we want to write exactly the same story in exactly the same style, with changes only to place names and time? Do we like a given structure and sequence of events so much that we decide to write all our stories with the same structure and sequence of events? Do we mean that the underlying theme is so compelling to us that we want to write on that theme as well? Or that one writer wrote a novel in a given genre that was so compelling that we decided we wanted to write in that genre as well?

    All of these could be called "inspiration". Some cross the line, some don't.

    My advice - keep reading and keep writing.
     
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  4. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I have no idea what influences my style honestly. I know what influences my plots and characters but they're usually from my life.
     
  5. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Our influences are collected in a melting pot. Because (I think @JayG will disagree with me here) we learn style mostly by reading other work. The more fiction we read, the more unique our style gets, as it is tailored to what we selectively prefer.

    I read a lot of King and Crichton growing up. I would be lying if I said that they hadn't affected my style, in fact, they created my style.

    Of course, outside of the melting pot mentioned above, we have our own complex personality that greatly changes the work. I find it hard to believe that someone could accidentally and noticeably emulate a famous author.

    I know that's just for the sake of argument, but if someone is easily and fully inspired by that one piece of work, I doubt that it will still be close to the original inspiration past page ten. Assuming it makes it that far. Writers finish the things that are personal, not borrowed.

    I'd really like to see an example of what you mean here. If you're saying that your outline is very similar to that of another story you just consumed, I'd suggest letting it sit for three months. In that time, elements from life experiences will brew. Those elements will just be begging to go in that novel of yours. Your story will probably become totally different, but still retain whatever magnetized you to it in the first place.
     
  6. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes. Absolutely agree.
     
  7. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I concur as well. In the early 2000's I read almost exclusively Sophie Kinsella/Madeline Wickham and I know for a fact it rubbed off on me. I still have trouble writing in 1P/Past because I'm so used to reading/doing everything else in present tense.
     
  8. Impressions
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    Impressions New Member

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    @Okon
    Totally. that kind of inspiration, however legitimate by some, isn't a sustainable "seed" for writing. I've come up with lots of ideas that diminish very fast, can't be developed at all. because you don't have the energy to infuse it. the cause for writing can't be all technique or to impress others. obviously. but when you practice, or try to come up with something new, fast, those thin lines might be mistakenly crossed.
    which relates to your next point:

    I've started writing a short story inspired by Voneggut's sirens of titan. which is actually another version of hitchhikers guide to the galaxy, in a way(and there are probably lots more examples). kind of humorous perspective over the way of existence/universe etc. not very original of me, but I found this topic interesting for me to write about continually. I guess I just need to focus on what's best, and stop worrying if I copy, because there are so many different angles on one thing.
     
  9. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    It's an interesting thing. When I had my manuscript critiquing service I offered clients who needed a boost, and seemed like they would benefit from it, a challenge. They would write a 1000 word story to spec, with certain simple rules: It was to be first person (later changed to third, but they didn't know that). The setting was an eatery of some sort, location unspecified. Two people were together at a table, gender unspecified, talking. As a result of the conversation one person challenges the other to solicit a kiss from someone not at their table but visible from it, reason and gender unspecified. The person in question must talk with the selected person, place unspecified, outcome unspecified. What was specified was that all the senses must be used, and the reader must know the protagonist's reason for doing/saying anything, as that person knew it. It was, in reality, an exercise in point of view presentation.

    We would kick it back and forth until POV was clearly the protagonist's and the story flowed well.

    You would think that given the rules and the situation the stories would be very much alike. In fact, I was amazed that none of the stories were at all like another, as for setting, the protagonist's response/behavior, etc. People got slapped, kissed, and politely refused. One character got up her nerve and made her pitch only be told that the man in question wanted an introduction to the other person at the protagonist's table.

    We modify our style when we find someone else we feel is more effective, of course. That's true in any profession. But from what I saw, we all start with a unique voice and way of viewing a story and the characters in it. And if we're actually in the protagonist's POV it's that character who has the biggest effect on style. As the puppet master, and being the bastards we are, we keep screwing with our protagonist's plans. We set their house on fire, have people beat the hell out of them, and trip them just when they feel they've caught their balance.

    So what we're learning from reading others is how to be a more clever bastard than we already are.

    I love writing. It's more fun than pulling the wings off flies.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Originality lies in the details, not in the broad strokes.
     
  11. JoshC
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    JoshC New Member

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    Trying to be original is not always the best thing to do. If you're trying to be original - and only original - you might as well not write, because I'll bet you somewhere, at some time, some person has already written what you are trying to write. You'll notice, though, that that's never stopped people from writing or creating something else; for all the comedies, tragedies, adventures, fantasies, and romances people have already conjured up, more and more are still being made.

    A person's reaction to anything is where originality comes from. I believe that's the reason why people continue to create things, despite them already having been made in some fashion or another. So whenever I begin to question if my story is original enough, I tell myself what I've just written here, I check to see if the writing has the feeling I want it to, and I adjust it accordingly. In the end, the story should be free to be what you want it to be, not shackled by what others have done.
     
  12. Impressions
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    Impressions New Member

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    if you like generalizations, yes. maybe. I don't.

    this is good. ignore being "original" and stick to the plan/feel.
     
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