Author Topic: When does inspiration go to far?  (Read 781 times)  

Offline idontknowyet

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 328
    • View Profile
When does inspiration go to far?
« on: July 10, 2018, 08:08:23 AM »
There are very few truly new ideas in writing.  Most of us have been inspired by other stories.
At what point is inspiration to close to just plain old rewriting another persons book.

I ask this because yesterday I was reading a very well written series. It was inspired by the divergent series. This author was so inspired by the series that it almost felt like book one was a rewritten form of their book one. It isn't until book two that I see the different turn this story takes. To give this author credit the story is very well written, and from book two the story is intriguing and thought provoking. I really didn't want to put it down.

Offline Kathy Dee

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 186
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2018, 09:03:02 AM »
There are very few truly new ideas in writing.  Most of us have been inspired by other stories.
At what point is inspiration to close to just plain old rewriting another persons book.


When the words are the same :)
"The saddest thing in life is people with sight, but without vision." - Helen Keller

Offline SevenDays

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3006
  • Gender: Female
  • PNW
  • Imagine something cool and witty here.
    • View Profile
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 09:21:40 AM »
If the "new" book invokes that much deja vu, the author has gone way too far and deserves to get their behind kicked.

Alex A. King | Website

Offline Luigi

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 62
  • Gender: Male
  • Long Beach Ca
    • View Profile
    • https://skygatetale.com/
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2018, 09:29:53 AM »
if it does anything more than tingle a memory of something else. It's probably gone too far.

luis robles | Website | Twitter

Offline Vijaya

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 138
  • Gender: Female
  • Charleston, SC
  • JMJ. Write.
    • View Profile
    • Vijaya Bodach
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 09:58:45 AM »

When the words are the same :)

This.

I've read lots of books inspired by other books but it's still their own story and take. Ex. Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. A lot of people copy his style but there's only one CS Lewis. Still, some newer readers might never have heard of him so it's great they'll get introduced (the authors always mention CSL in their intro or acknowledgments). I read a short story written in the style of Flannery O'Connor. It was a good first effort by a student, but there's nobody like Flannery.

Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books

Offline kcmorgan

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
    • View Profile
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2018, 11:48:17 AM »
Maybe she loved the first Divergent book but imagined things going in a different direction. That might be skirting kinda close to fan fic, but if she used different characters I'd cut her a bit of a break there. Different characters in a similar plot would still make for a uniquely different story because they'd make different choices.

Offline Bards and Sages (Julie)

  • Status: Harvey Chute
  • *********
  • Posts: 13778
  • Gender: Female
  • New Jersey
  • Her Royal Sithiness
    • View Profile
    • Bards and Sages Publishing
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2018, 01:18:58 PM »
There are very few truly new ideas in writing.  Most of us have been inspired by other stories.
At what point is inspiration to close to just plain old rewriting another persons book.

Did the author actually SAY they were inspired by the series, or is that your reading of the book?

We tend to view everything through the lens of our own literary literacy. We tend to pick up patterns, even when they don't exist, based on our own reading habits.

I have had people tell me that The Doom Guardian was "just like Lord of the Rings." And while they meant it as a compliment, the books have nothing in common except there is a dwarf and an elf, but Nigel is a dark elf con artist and not an elven archer. There is no big orc army or world-shaking battle. There are some vampires, demons, gnomes with explosives, and a lovable fire-breathing horse. There is a "hero's journey" thing but that is it. But to that reader, who's primary understanding of fantasy is based on reading Lord of the Rings, my book was "just like" it.

Which is contrary to the reader who said it was "Just like those Game of Thrones books." And I have NO idea what comparisons she sees there and I'm pretty sure this particular person only knows the books from the HBO series but somehow she saw comparisons.

Writer, Publisher, Game Designer, Resident Sith
Julie Ann Dawson | Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eFesitival of Words

Offline Sam Kates

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1875
  • Gender: Male
  • UK
  • From the land of song and dragons.
    • View Profile
    • Sam Kates
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2018, 01:49:50 PM »
I have had people tell me that The Doom Guardian was "just like Lord of the Rings." And while they meant it as a compliment, the books have nothing in common except there is a dwarf and an elf, but Nigel is a dark elf con artist and not an elven archer. There is no big orc army or world-shaking battle. There are some vampires, demons, gnomes with explosives, and a lovable fire-breathing horse. There is a "hero's journey" thing but that is it. But to that reader, who's primary understanding of fantasy is based on reading Lord of the Rings, my book was "just like" it.

Which is contrary to the reader who said it was "Just like those Game of Thrones books." And I have NO idea what comparisons she sees there and I'm pretty sure this particular person only knows the books from the HBO series but somehow she saw comparisons.

Most of us probably get comments along these lines. I had a reader say The Cleansing is 'too much like The Stand', despite the only similarity being the apocalyptic event is a virus. We just have to shrug and move on.
 
sam kates

Offline idontknowyet

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 328
    • View Profile
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2018, 02:09:13 PM »
Did the author actually SAY they were inspired by the series, or is that your reading of the book?

We tend to view everything through the lens of our own literary literacy. We tend to pick up patterns, even when they don't exist, based on our own reading habits.

I have had people tell me that The Doom Guardian was "just like Lord of the Rings." And while they meant it as a compliment, the books have nothing in common except there is a dwarf and an elf, but Nigel is a dark elf con artist and not an elven archer. There is no big orc army or world-shaking battle. There are some vampires, demons, gnomes with explosives, and a lovable fire-breathing horse. There is a "hero's journey" thing but that is it. But to that reader, who's primary understanding of fantasy is based on reading Lord of the Rings, my book was "just like" it.

Which is contrary to the reader who said it was "Just like those Game of Thrones books." And I have NO idea what comparisons she sees there and I'm pretty sure this particular person only knows the books from the HBO series but somehow she saw comparisons.

So I went back and looked.. I never read the forward and rarely read the backmatter. The blub says for readers of Divergent and Hunger Games.
A few similarities since there are way to many too list.
The names are very similar. Though this author took the naming structure to the extreme, to the point it became irritating. There was a logical reason explained in the book but still irritating.
Genetic experiment sponsored by the goverment
Class system including combat, politican, etc. None of them are in the know. Everyone is being observed by outside forces.
People that dont follow the norm are seperated.
Groups of people that don't follow the rules are treated similarly.
Teaching the combat class is almost the same.


I'm not really meaning this post as a judge another author's book. Generally claiming a book is similar to a big name book is a compliment. Just as a general discussion of where is the limit of inspiration and rewriting another persons book.

Offline DonovanJeremiah

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 94
    • View Profile
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2018, 02:23:09 PM »
Genetic experiment sponsored by the goverment
Class system including combat, politican, etc. None of them are in the know. Everyone is being observed by outside forces.
People that dont follow the norm are seperated.
Groups of people that don't follow the rules are treated similarly.
Teaching the combat class is almost the same.

Not that I'm all that well versed in YA or dystopian, so I may be completely off base here, but those sound like the expected conventions of the genre.

Offline kcmorgan

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 617
    • View Profile
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2018, 06:06:40 PM »
Not that I'm all that well versed in YA or dystopian, so I may be completely off base here, but those sound like the expected conventions of the genre.
Yep. That could be describing The Maze Runner too or The 5th Wave.

Online RPatton

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 159
    • View Profile
Re: When does inspiration go to far?
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2018, 09:40:19 PM »
Aaron Sorkin constantly says good writers borrow, but great writers steal. (And he stole that from someone else.) Stealing doesn't mean plagiarism, it means taking another's idea, flipping it on its side, twisting it around, and turning it inside out. By the time you're done, it should be new, but those who are intimately familiar with the source, will see it. Hamilton has lots of references to The West Wing. Most viewers of the musical won't see them, but die hard West Wing fans saw all of them and then some Lin-Manuel Miranda never realized he made.

It happens. It's also a case of knowing what battles to fight. The ones that are practical clones, I could see fighting. The ones that are similar, meh, there are more important things to worry about.