Friday, 31 May 2013

Completely my idea

Writing - Is my latest hobby (Not for the past few days I hear you shout... You've forgotten all about your faithful daily readers haven't you, you horrible, horrible, man).

Yeah, sorry about that, I got a bit caught up in the old paying work thing... Won't let it happen again... Actually, thinking about it, I probably will, all things considered - Lot of meetings coming up in the next few weeks.  The Blog might go all sporadic, I apologise in advance, and arrears too probably, but I'll do that later.

Anyway, writing, or at least popular writing, was once described (by me) as a collection of ideas you've stolen from various better writers, changed just enough so that they can't sue you, and glued together in a slightly different order.

I mean, the chances of any one person having a completely original idea - Something you can't say 'Isn't that a bit like...' or 'Doesn't that remind you of that bit in...' is like, a bajillion to one.  I don't mean it doesn't happen, but it certainly doesn't happen very often.  I freely admit, and have stated publicly, on the Blog, that I sometimes steal ideas from successful authors and pass them off as my own.

Yes, this makes me a bad person, but I'm also good looking and funny, so you're probably going to let me off eventually.

It's difficult not to really - The book I'm writing, the agglomeration and expansion of my previously Blogged Edward Teach stories (See, I even stole that name!) is just a rehash of old tropes.  I mean, just look:

  • Airships - Jules Verne et al.
  • Ion weapons - The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Powered Armour - Robert Heinlein's Starship Toopers. (The book and cartoon, not the films)
  • Sentient Robots going a bit nuts - The Terminator series.
  • Fantasy Feudality: Anything featuring Elric by Michael Moorcock.
  • Young girl mentored by unsuitable older man - And, actually, vast swathes of the story itself: Charles Portis' True Grit.

And, as late night Rock 'n' Roll CD complilation adverts might say, 'And the list goes on'.  Have I not actually got an original thought in my head?  Well, plainly not - Apart from the eccentric 'let's all rub aardvark fat all over ourselves, dress up like herring and go to the zoo and annoy the sealions.' kinda stuff, but you couldn't do a whole book like that though - If I did, people would only say I was stealing from the stylistic musings of the acknowledged king of anapestic tetrameter, Theo Geisel.

But it's not just me, you look closely enough at any film, or book or what-have-you and you'll see themes that you've experienced elsewhere.  Admittedly, the further you go back, the more difficult it is to find them, but they're there.  Even the religious texts of the ancient religions nicked ideas from existing, more ancient, texts - S'true, do some research, it'll save you going out in this awful sunshine thing that everyone keeps raving on about.

We can trace the plagiarism back even further, Remember our old friend Urk? One of his ancestors once probably visited a cave belonging to one of his friends and saw a story painted on the wall that said 'Went to woods, fought a Arctodus Simus, kicked it's ass, went home, made a nice necklace'.  When he goes home he grabs the finger-paints and immediately draws on the wall 'Went up into the mountains, fought an entire family of Arctodus Simus, kicked their multiple asses, went home, made two necklaces and an attractive pair of bearskin flip-flops'.

Totally copied the story, but made it better - As long as he never invites that friend to his house, then Bob's your heavily brow-ridged Mother's Brother.

So, I guess I'm fairly safe, it seems that the few artists that I've blatantly nicked ideas off are either dead or in their 70's and I can run faster than both of those types of people, just about.

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