1. Hannibal Alexander
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    Hannibal Alexander Senior Member

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    Your Writing Idols... and how they affect your writing?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Hannibal Alexander, Aug 17, 2012.

    Quentin Tarantino is my screenwriting Idol... and in the past month or so I've been re-acquainting myself with all his movies, just trying to dissect what it is about his style that I respond to.
    My question for all of you, do you ever get worried that if you study your Idol too much that your writing will end up coming off like a copycat of said Idol? Because a lot of times I'll be watching a movie of his and see a scene and think "wow that's cool, I should do that".
    I guess I'm just wondering what the fine line between inspiration and plagiarizing is. and how do you all deal with this problem?

    (granted, i haven't written anything on my actual SCRIPT since this Tarantino-101-Self-Education course! so i can't say it's affected me negatively i just have that fear!)
     
  2. bskelhorn
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    bskelhorn New Member

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    I think learning for your idols is fine as long you try and add your own take into it. If you look at Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez they have become great friends because they shoot and write within the same style. Both started out on humble projects and got better with time, who's to say you are not going to do the same?

    Everyone draws inspiration from another peoples work - the hard part is not copying it to death. Good luck with the script.
     
  3. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I just think you have to be self-aware, and disciplined enough not to let your influence show too much. The added problem with being influenced by someone like Tarantino who is so distinctive (although obviously he borrows heavily from his idols himself), is that you can easily appear as a pale imitation. If you haven't already perhaps you could read his scripts more than you watch the films, so you can get a better feel for the structure, rhythm and dialogue which might have a more subtle but very useful influence on you than the finished product
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't have idols. I have favorite authors, but I don't even view them as writers I want to emulate. Their styles may add some flavor to my own writing, but considering they are in a variety of genres... But then I don't "study" fiction. I read a lot and garner things through a sort of osmosis, I suppose.
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I'd never call my favorite authors idols. And I try to keep a distance - learn from them, don't imitate them.
    Imitations don't allow you to develope your own style. Look to who you admire and realise they themselves
    learned and admired from someone before them. Jot a list of what you admire most
    and examin why you like it.

    I have discovered I like Nabokov because he uses eclectic words and a variety of them. Something
    I have been incorporating in my own work.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The writer I've identified with the most is Michener, both because he wrote a great deal of historical fiction (which I have always enjoyed) and because he created many memorable characters, from Nellie Forbush and Emile DeBeque to Pasquinel. But also because he wrote several books on the craft of writing - not "how to" books, but more a record of where he had been and ideas he had about the art.

    Now that I'm writing a historical, I'm very conscious of his methods and his writing. My goal is to use the benefit of what he said to bolster my own technique, but not to try to be another Michener.

    I also take great solace that he wrote his first novel when he was in his 40s.
     
  7. moscowwoah
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    moscowwoah Member

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    In my life I've identified myself with two writers, David Foster Wallace, and Raymond Carver. Both have completely different styles - Carver was a minimalist, and DFW can't write enough, so he tacks on hundreds of pages of footnotes at the end of his book.

    I've learned a lot from both.

    I've tried imitating Carver when I first started writing, as it seems easy to do, but it's a lot harder than it looks. Now I like to think I have my own voice when I'm writing. But I'm still learning.
     

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