1. SGTGerman
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    SGTGerman Member

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    When does "Pays tribute" become "A rip off"?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by SGTGerman, Dec 24, 2012.

    Something I would like to do is pay tribute to all the sci fi, tv shows, film and other fiction that has inspired and motivated me to write. You hear and see for your self in films how they "pay tribute" to older films maybe liked by the director etc.

    However, what you also hear is how an idea was "stolen" or how a show is a "rip off"/"scam" of an original piece. Most of my ideas are inspired by worksd such as Star wars, Mass Effect, Battlestar Galactica etc etc. So, my question is how do I prevent the reader from scorning my work, and instead have him knodding his head thinking "Ah I see what he's doing here"?


    SGT.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that is a well-kept secret every homage-payer will take to his/her grave... :cool:
     
  3. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I think it's when you stop injecting originality and just do the same thing as was done before. It may also depend on who's reading it... Not sure.


    That is perfect usage of the :cool: emoticon :D
     
  4. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I think invoking it in throw-away lines is the easiest way. Here's one I wrote once.

    "Have you ever noticed just how much he really is like his father?"

    "Yeah," Tyler answered, then added under his breath, "too much like his father."

    Markus smirked. "Don't worry, I doubt he'll be headed into town to pick up power-converters."

    "Oh, bugger off!"


    -------------
    Basically, as long as it isn't central to your plot line, or you're not using it to add to your story, I think it's okay. If you're really in doubt, either don't use it, or hang a lampshade on it.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally, I'd say homage is tossing in bits and pieces - having a secondary character with the same first or last name as a major character from the original, using the name of a well-known location perhaps, having a character use a phrase associated with the original - things of that nature. A rip-off is just basically rewriting the same story, tossing in a change-up here and there.
     
  6. auxtran
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    auxtran New Member

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    My advice would be to take something from your inspiration and then "turn it on it's head" A story that seems dull, trite or derivative can usually be livened up by the addition of an unexpected element or twist. As long as your story does something different than what you are riffing on, it will be worth it.
     
  7. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Everything is inspired by something that has already been done because there really are no new things, just different ways of presenting them.

    My thoughts are that if you feel it sounds similar, you have not written it in your own voice, meaning, from deeper in your heart. When you start feeling emotional while you are writing, that's good writing. When you feel la-de-da ish, you're skimming.
     
  8. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    You can make it obvious, or you can make it pass by in silence as a kind of easter egg only known to those that look. You could have a completely unimportant character have the last name of Thrace, or you can even do anagrams, all depending on how much you want the reader to notice.
     

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