1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Plagiarizing myself

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Oct 7, 2013.

    I just started my sci-fi story for the contest and was pretty pleased with the first three pages until I realized to my horror the story resembles the novel I'm working on. It's uncanny. I mean they're completely different and yet the same - sort of like The Enchanter vs Lolita. I'm not sure what to do, if I should change up a character, take the story in a different direction or scrap it and start something else. Anyone ever had this happen to them?
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  2. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Yup... all the time. I think what I've started to realise is that my tendency to recycle bits from my 'remnant' folder is partially responsible. These tend to be sections that are well enough written to not bin. What I don't always take into account, is that they were written with a particular tone in mind, and once I plant them elsewhere that scene will start becoming more like the one the remnant was trimmed from in the first place. It's definitely a subconscious thing on my part.

    That said... now I've figured it out, it's an easier job avoiding it.
     
  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    We all have themes, and they repeat on us. But even if it's similar to your novel, so what? Maybe it's a new/different/interesting aspect of the larger story. I say write it and see if it is useful in some way.
     
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  4. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    @jazzabel Very true. I do seem to do a lot of reworking of the same themes. The novel I'm presently working on seems to be taking on the same theme as the shorts that inspired it. I'm hoping for something bigger, better and more involving. Just because the theme seems familiar is no good reason to discount it.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    In a more technical, word for word sense, I've seen writers do this. As much as I adore David Gerrold, in his War Against the Chtorr series, by the third book I started to get an uncanny sense of déjà vu now and again. Sure enough, numerous lines and parts of paragraphs were remarkably similar to parts found in earlier books in the series.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Head
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    Head New Member

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    Self plagiarism is style.

    -Alfred Hitchcock
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Hey thanks guys,
    Cool quote Head! Cogito - lol.
    Wreybies - I hope I don't do the word for word thing. I have caught myself giving two wiseacre characters the same cracks. But I usually
    go back and correct one.
     
  9. Darrell Standing
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    Darrell Standing Member

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    I heard a few writers say that they have written the same book more than once...
     
  10. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Ha.

    I say change a bit of the story's direction. I actually have the same problem with two of my series being a bit similar in concept.
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've deliberately plagiarized myself. I included a couple of lines - an image - from a poem I once wrote into a story, because I really liked it. The poem was never published and never will be, so I don't care.
     
  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    @minstrel: Haha, I do that all the time. I'm even contemplating using an old short story as a minor subplot in the novel I'm currently writing.
     
  13. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't call it plagiarizing -I think it's a perfectly normal aspect of a creative process... Especially when you start working on a new story while another one is still "boiling": as I see it, parts of your mind are still going through an building on the senior work, and you want them to focus to something else, so they simply shift, taking parts of the old narrative with them. :)

    On a larger scale, you probably not quite satisfied with the way you dealt with a certain theme in one place, and you want to try it again. Or, the theme may hold some importance to you that you are not quite aware yet, so going through it from another angle is a way to deal with it. Sometimes, I believe, it's psychological (for example: my wife thinks that through some of my repeating characters I deal my unbalanced self-image), or even para-psychological (I've written a few stories about a compulsive, manipulative and promiscuous red-head sometimes called Magie, and I've actually met the person years after that).

    Some readers may actually enjoy noticing recycled and repeating themes, characters that jump through stories and common motifs... That's one way to mark your oeuvre :)
     
  14. Jocunda
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    Jocunda New Member

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    If you feel inspired to write it, write it!

    I don't think you should be trying to write something new and 'untouched' every single time. That implies you're writing to please other people, and that shouldn't be what writing is about.

    Go on with it! If it's interesting to you, keep writing it.
     

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