1. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    Writing Originality: When is taking a small idea become more closer to Plagiarism?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DischargedKombat, Jan 15, 2013.

    Sometimes as a writer, I can tell where I have received my talent from. As we all know, writing in general can come from the things you see, the ideas that are created in the real world. But sometimes, If you are constantly reading, ideas from other people's fictional world slip in the mind, and you can lose grasp on your own originality. Some defend the idea that you can take small ideas, so long as you change it into something completely different. (For example: Futuristic robots that look nothing and act nothing like a robot you might have seen from IRobot. Or faking deaths--how many times has this been done? XD) But when do you lose complete originality? (I am pointing out the idea that taking anything loses some fraction of originality in general circumstances)

    For example: I read a book about Alex Rider. The gist of it is a fourteen year old boy who constantly gets involved in a British Intelligence Agency called the MI6. He is considered underaged, and usually is forced to do his missions under some kind of blackmail (First book his housekeeper's Visa expired. The MI6 said that they would renew it if he spied on someone) Scorpia, (Sabotage, Corruption, Intelligence, Assassination) an organization, is always after him.

    Another example: Call of duty: Modern Warfare. Everyone has played this franchise. We know that it is about World War III, and that involves alot of war tactics.

    Example 3: 24. I have inspiration in a fictional organization called CTU, Counter Terrorist Unit. Although stationed in Los Angles California, my fictional OPS stations are stationed all around the world, with America having three of them. One is in California, but I had a more accurate military choice with putting it in San Diego, near Coronado (Where one of the Navy SEAL bases are stationed.) I find this pushing the envelope, but I really didn't think about the similarity till now.

    Now what if ideas, even that I had no clue of, were mended and make it a sixteen year old girl by the name of Violet Flank, who gets in trouble with the American government agency called the Operational Protection Service. They force her to decript a type of intelligence device from a terrorist organization called FANTIM. (Facient assassins of Neo-Terrorism and International Mayhem) Later on, she gets involved so deep into the kabal that it causes World War III, where the story becomes real. The styles are completely different to me in story approach, but I admit to inspiration. Does this cause a lawsuit? (I'm kidding. But what do you guys think? Is it too far?)

    If you broskis could also give an example where places have given you inspiration, but you made your own original story out of the small ideas, tell me.
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Inspiration does not generate a valid lawsuit. Every story has been inspired by a previous story. Otherwise nothing new would be written. The fact is, each person is different. Each person will interpret events in his or her own way, based on his or her own personal history, experience, psyche and thought process. Stories are an extension of each person, so each story is going to be different. Sure this means that sometimes we get stories that are similar, just as we know people who are similar. But even though they are similar, they are still unique and distinct.

    You could put a writing prompt up on this site, even one which you felt was pretty specific, and get as many different stories as there were entrants.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Ideas aren't copyrightable. But don't lift passages verbatim, or mimic entire scenes in detail. Even doing so and tweaking them to try to disguise their origin will expose you to legal trouble.

    The more widely you read, the less likelihood of inadvertently plagiarizing.
     
  4. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    I don't believe in stealing passages, or entries from any story. I feel this lifts the need to write a story, as the whole point of making one is that it is a world you created on your own. So I agree, my story still feels way different than any aforementioned. Reading it overall just all depends on how much the reader prefers their originality.

    What I've always told myself was that if the characters are different, act different and say different things in a completely different environment, with similar circumstances (WIII, government) but different plots, different dialogue and different interactions, no comparison should be made really. I do not take quotes or scenes unless referenced (which is like once in a light year.) So yeah, I do understand. It just irks me when I see similarity. Tis' is life.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    your mother, or father?... a grandparent?... and why only 'sometimes'?

    re 'plagiarism' see cog's comments... and, as liz says, the same idea would be developed into 10 different stories by any 10 different writers...
     
  6. DischargedKombat
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    DischargedKombat Member

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    None of my parents are writers. I've always had an imagination as a kid, and I developed my thoughts by getting ideas from other stories. Now, I'm not saying that I just steal ideas, I'm saying that I get them (Ideas of futuristic worlds, weapons, thing of those sorts.) What I was trying to say was that sometimes I feel I'm too similar to different groups, but you guys have answered this accurately. Thank you.

    PS: I guess you could argue thematically it's okay to use an idea, passage-wise, no...
     
  7. spartan928
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    spartan928 Member

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    I'm new here but this subject seems to come up frequently. That is, how does a writer stay "original". Let's give it some context. In chess, there are 20 possible first moves. In response, the opponent also has 20 choices which equals 400 possible 2nd move combinations. When you add a third move it leaps to about 20,000 possible variations. After that, the numbers get staggering going into millions very quickly. If you can step off the cliff to virtual infinity with a board game that fast, imagine how much more quickly things get original with about 170,000 English words to pick from to start a sentence with. So it goes with your writing. Take one of the thousands of thematic seeds that have been done a billion times before and from the first sentence I guarantee it'll be yours!
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    komba... seems you just confused 'talent' and 'inspiration'...
     

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