Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Stealing From Other Writers

Note: Plagiarism is bad!! Don't steal crap...sort of...
Note II: It's my sister's birthday, so Happy Birthday, Laura!!

On with the blog!

For the record, I do (yep, I do) endorse stealing from other writers. I'm not telling you to go to the store, grab a Nick Sparks book and steal whole sentences to put into your work and claim it as your brilliant writing.

So sneaky...
I mean, if you contact him, ask permission, go through all the legal loops and get permission, good for you, that's awesome.

But, what I'm talking about is ideas. Steal ideas. This right here, is why we read so much, why we decide what we like in other author's writing, and why we implement it in our own.

In a simple example, I like blogs with pictures. It breaks up all the writing, it makes it more personal, so I also started putting pictures in my blog.

In a slightly more complex example, Sharon Creech writes middle grade novels. (Favorites: Walk Two Moons, Bloomability, Chasing Redbird.) In said novels, characters from other novels will drop into the one you're currently reading. It's brief but they're there; maybe they're friends, maybe they went to the same school.

Either way, I really like this idea. It's like writing a sequel without having to write a sequel. My good friend G. K. Byrne did a couple of rounds of beta editing for me, and it was awesome because she went through both Character Defects, and My Sister's Memories. As I wrote My Sister's Memories, I was thinking a lot about Ms. Creech and the characters popping up later in novels.

So what'd I do? I wrote a scene in where you'd see Destroyer and Sarah together (but I won't tell you where, in case they get published, you know :) ). The best part? Ms. Byrne recognized the scene and in her notes wrote, "Hiya, Destroyer!" and I got that warm fuzzy feeling we get as writers when someone pats us on the back and says, "Well done!"

So what about you guys? Which writers influenced you?


  1. I totally agree with this. Even harry Potter 'borrowed' ideas from Lord of the Rings and other novels. I think some of my biggest influences are James Patterson and Shannon Hale. But I always get inspired when I read a good book!

  2. As Bono says, "Every artist is a thief."

  3. @J.A., I was thinking that as well. And I mean, even twilight continued the "Vampires have to stay out of the sun," but gave it a new spin. I haven't read any of those authors, I'll have to look into them!

    @Andrew, I like :)


Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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