1. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Inspiration vs plagiarism

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Man in the Box, Jun 21, 2011.

    This apparent dilemma has been driving me mad with my story.

    The reason is that I've been coming up with character appearances, traits and goals that I feel are a bit too close to other stories I've read, and, since I want to eventually publish (or attempt to publish) my work, my biggest fear is that there'll be people who'll point at me with angry fingers and say "you copied X", or "this is a rip off of Y", and so on. However, other people might just view it as "he took inspiration from Z" and, if it's true, I'll be the first to openly admit it, as it's something like a homage to authors I admire.

    I'll give an example: in my story, the main character is hunted by vampires because her blood, which allows her to heal even large wounds at a fast rate, will grant them enough power to establish a rule in the world without opposition from groups which defend humans (vampire slayers, the Catholic Church, etc.). The source of her healing power is a mutation in her bone marrow cells which makes her produce stemcells at will (sort of like a reverse cancer, which fits since her mother dies from leucemia). In an anime I watched (Blood+, don't know whether you guys are familiar with various anime), there's a class of characters called Schiff who need the blood of a certain vampire queen to survive. When I realised the similarity of the concept, I really felt bad... :p As I want to write something original and I don't know whether using elements which were already featured in other works is ok or not.

    There's other stuff in my story which I'm having trouble with (like the existence of a vampire-and-demon slaying character from the Church, which is a bit cliché but I don't want to drop her), but I think I'll address those in other posts if needed be. I've lurked here a bit and saw a few people aren't too fond of clichés so I fear you may come down hard on me... Well, I'm open to criticism. :D

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Contacaton
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    Contacaton New Member

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    It sounds to me as though you came up with the idea before realising that it's similar to another one, rather than deliberately using an idea somebody else has used before. I'm also seeing that the idea you've come up with isn't identical to the original idea, but is quite different. On these grounds, I think you're safe, so long as you don't flaunt the similarity.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    The concepts don't really sound too similar at all, so I don't see a problem. But even if they were, it still probably wouldn't be an issue. Concepts and stories are recycled constantly, it's the writer's treatment of them that creates a sense of difference and originality.
     
  4. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    The whole concept of vampires trying to take over the world, fighting vampire hunters and the Catholic Church seems a bit overused, but that doesn't mean it will be a bad story. It just means you need to work harder to make it your own.

    Btw what does the Catholic Church have to do with vampires? Sure, they are fighting the devil and all that, but vampires? Wouldn't anyone who knows about them fight them?
     
  5. Heather
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    Heather Contributing Member

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    People have been telling stories since the beginning of time, so I would be unbelievably surprised if any story written today could be classed as truely origional. As long as your story is your own and their is nothing blatently plagourised, ie, Harry Potter doesn't just wander into the story, I think it is fine.

    However, in terms of publishing, it often just depends on what is popular in the market at the time. For example, vampires are currently very popular among teen literature, so it may be more easy to get published now than at another time. I wouldn't think too much about that at this stage though - just say what you want to say, and then worry about publishing later on. :)
     
  6. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Oh, in anime they fight vampires all the time... Tsukihime, Hellsing, Trinity Blood...

    Thanks for the words of encouragement guys! :D
     
  7. Quezacotl
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    Quezacotl Contributing Member

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    Don't bother listening to those who point out the obvious - the ideas used are vaugely similar, but each is unique. There are similarities, but you did not knowingly steal the exact idea from that Anime, thus it is not plagiarism.
     
  8. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Anybody who tells you that your work is plagiarism needs to learn the meaning of the phrase "twisted cliche".
     
  9. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Pocahontas, Avatar, Dances with Wolves, etc., are all about some white guy coming to a bunch of "native" peoples, starting a romance with the chief's daughter (or something of the like), and then trying to help them defend against the evil colonial ambitions of other white people.

    More or less the same story, different settings and twists - all were well-received and applauded by audiences, more or less.

    I mean even, say, Tolkien himself, people like to think he single-handedly invented the fantasy genre - except he took a lot of inspiration from early fantasy authors, as well as some European mythology and linguistics.
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    As a general rule of thumb, if you're emulating themes or writing styles, that's fine, but don't rip off storyline ideas, settings etc. Try to make those your own. But in your case, it seems like you came up the idea before realizing it may not be completely unique, which is also not plagarism.
     

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