1. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    Giving credit to your inspiration

    Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by RachHP, Jul 1, 2015.

    Hi all,

    Firstly - I did check out the inspiration thread and various other places to see if I could find an answer, to no avail.
    Thusly:

    If you are inspired by someone else's work, at what point do you reach out to acknowledge the source/get permission to move ahead with your inspired idea?
    I read this poem and would love to write a book/short story based on the ideas presented in it. Although I realise my work will be my own and not plagiarism, it would be a clear case of direct inspiration so I'm not sure about the ethics at play!
    I found out the writer's name and have an email address, but whilst writing to ask for some kind of permission I figured I'd hang fire and see what you good folks would do.

    Any thoughts?

    I said I was a writer,
    Then saw scheming in your glance,
    You had wished to live forever,
    And now I was your chance,
    You clawed your way inside me,
    Shot jet black ink in through my veins,
    Made sure that I would write of you,
    Until I drove myself insane,
    You longed to be the hero,
    Like in the books you used to read,
    Remembered as the kind of the man,
    That everybody needs,
    It was too late when you noticed,
    The one mistake that you had made,
    That a warrior might fight with swords,
    But the pen's a writers blade,
    You can't just tear my world up,
    And then expect a loving rhyme,
    You used your words as sharpened weapons,
    And now I will use mine,
    I trapped you in ink handcuffs,
    Locked you behind my written bars,
    And now you'll finally live forever,
    As the monster that you are.
    E.H
     
  2. TuSlick
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    TuSlick New Member

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    I think it's fine to move ahead without permission. Like you say, your work would be original. As for reaching out to its source creator, I think you should do it if you want to thank them for inspiring you.
     
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  3. Baby Phoenix
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    Baby Phoenix Member

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    Inspiration is a touchy topic (in my opinion). If you didn't directly copy it wait isn't that stealing?), and have made your own innovations, taking someone else's idea as inspiration is fine. I mean, it's an idea. An idea doesn't make a story, or a poem, or a book. It inspires one, and what you do with that idea makes it what it is.

    You should give the courtesy of asking for permission and, if it's a really heavy influence, credit him for the inspiration (that's up to you/him but I'd assume he'd want the publicity). If he says you can't, however, he can't stop you either. it's not stealing. If he says yes, great! If he says no, well at least you tried right?

    Well, that's what I believe. I'm not going to stop writing something I enjoy because someone doesn't like the idea of me liking their idea.
     
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  4. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    My longest completed story is a Doctor Who fanfic (for free here as I will never make any money off of it), but in addition to the obvious...

    1) Joss Whedon

    Joss Whedon will always be the television writer that ruined me for Lowest Common Denominator procedurals, the writer who taught me how to balance short-term episodic stories with long-term seasonal development, the writer who showed me that main characters should be allowed to die if the story would weaken by keeping them alive, and (keeping in mind that I am the most prudish person that I have ever met in my life) the first writer who ever made me laugh at sex jokes (except when I needed my younger brother to explain a lot of them, that tended to kill the humor pretty quickly).

    I also did not plan on doing this when I first started my Doctor Who story, but in hindsight Joss Whedon also did a great deal to show me how a group of friends could work together against obstacles even when one is significantly more powerful and you would not expect the others to be able to contribute at her level.

    2) Orson Scott Card

    I didn't bother reading the Ender books until my father e-mailed me this article by a guy who had loved Ender's Game as a teenager because he'd grown up surrounded by Islamophobia, empathized with Ender's isolation, was amazed to see a Muslim character in the book who reflected reality rather than being a "MUZLIMZ IZ EVUL" stereotype, and yet was horrified to learn as an adult that Card was an active homophobe who had somehow missed the point of his own books that tolerance and diversity were more important than dogma and conformity.

    I was (and still am) a Christian who hated (and still hates) Islamophobia despite having never been bullied for my religion myself, and I was (and still am) an asexual who hated (and still hates) homophobia despite only barely being bullied for my orientation. And when I decided that two of the characters in my story would be extremely religious, I had just taken it for granted that being religious meant that they would be Christians. Didn't cross (haha) my mind once that there were other people in the world that I could try writing about.

    Reading this article made me sick to my stomach that a bigot like Card was treating other religions better in his book than I was planning to in mine. I changed one of my two Christian characters to a Muslim and spent months learning as much as possible about how she would be different from how I'd originally envisioned her.

    The story became so much better for it, and I will never give weight to somebody who may tell me upon learning this "Well you should've written about two Christians if that's what you thought you wanted to write about the first time!"

    Fun fact: the Muslim girl became my main character :D My story is 63k words split between 5 POVs, and the Muslim girl gets the most internal screen-time with 20k words written from her perspective while the Christian guy has the least internal screen-time at 7k.

    3) Rich Burlew

    Oh, Belkar Bitterleaf. Whoever else could've shown me how much more beautiful the challenge can be for the heroes to save the world when they have to spend half of their time keeping their best friend / pet serial killer from rampaging out of control :twisted:

    Other works hat I'd loved had shown the Token Evil Teammate dynamic (Hero Protagonists and a Villain Protagonist working together against Villain Antagonists) in exciting and creative ways, primarily Spike and Jayne from the Whedonverse, but Rich Burlew's look at the myriad problems that Belkar's Chaotic Evilness caused for the Order of the Stick inspired me to see how that dynamic might be different in my story where the villain is the one in charge of the heroes for a change.

    4) Dr Abraham Maslow :D

    And of course I've talked extensively on this site about how much I love making alien psychology different from human psychology by re-arranging Maslow's Hierarchy ;)

    Now my horror stories owe far more to HP Lovecraft, but I haven't noticed him having much influence in the action/adventure sci-fi that I've spent most of my writing time writing for.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't ask permission unless you're actually prepared to not go ahead if permission isn't granted.

    If you ask and aren't granted permission and then go ahead anyway, you've called the original author's attention to something that s/he will be upset by, and I don't think that's an appropriate way to thank someone whose work has been valuable to you.
     
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  6. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    @Simpson17866 Thanks for commenting. Intriguing insights into your own development as a writer. I haven't sat and considered the specific influences writers have had on my own attitudes/works but seeing yours has made me start to wonder.

    @BayView A great point. Ultimately, I haven't started the work this thread is related to for that very reason. Until I muster the courage to write to her, I don't think I have the right to take the idea forward.
    Glad you're keeping me honest, though :)
    Thanks

    Rach
     
  7. Fawky
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    Fawky Member

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    At this point it's really about personal preference. Yes, you took inspiration from someone and you'd have to consider to what extent the inspiration reaches your story and whether it's actually nessecary to contact the author and ask permission. Regardless, it's really about how you personally feel about it and your own conscience.

    For me, if someone were to get inspiration from my work I'd be happy about it without credit as long as they don't blatantly plagarize it etc, as a writing community we gotta stay tight eh?
     
  8. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it helps, I've been sharing bits and pieces of my story's background here and there for the last ...

    Oh wow it just hit me that I started writing this in (checks Microsoft Word) July 16, 2013 and I spent 2 and 2/3 years working on it before I finished. That doesn't feel real to me

    ... moving right along, I found that getting a few pieces out there (a line of dialogue, a character description, a passage of backstory that didn't make it into the actual narrative, my method for xenopsychology) and people noticing motivated me to finish so that I wouldn't let my interested audience down after I'd gotten them hooked.

    Do you like Doctor Who by any chance?
     
  9. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    @Fawky Couldn't have put it better myself. Being a writer is a bit like being in a gang - except instead of beating up people in real life, we round them up into our narrative and do our worst... :p

    @Simpson17866 It goes fast, doesn't it!
    That's a good method to stay motivated, actually. One to keep in the back pocket :)

    Well, I'm English, so... Dr Who? Yes, of course. It's genius! A work of marvels!
    *checks over shoulder*
    *leans in*
    *whispers*
    Meh. It's okay. I can appreciate some of the story elements but it's not really my thing. I'm more of an American sitcom kinda girl (but ssh, I'll get digestives thrown at me on the street if anyone finds out)
     
  10. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I hope you guys don't mind me necrobumping. Can't resist. Such a tempting topic.

    A lot of things inspire me, but only one I really way to say right now.

    @Nicoel <G>
     
  11. Amy Brahams
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    Amy Brahams Member

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    I do believe that it is fine to move ahead without seeking permission.
     

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