Saturday, June 8, 2013

Do you trust your writing group?

In the past I have known writers who have shared their ideas in writing groups and then have felt later on, while reading or hearing another writer talk about WIPs, that their ideas were stolen.

I have a few questions about this.

  1. Can you even "steal" an idea? Example: Think of a cat. Other than the fact they we're both thinking of a four legged feline, our actually ideas or vision of a cat are completely different.
  2. I feel like it's a typical unspoken rule that you don't try to take another writers idea and finish it. If you are inspired, you take that idea and make it into your own. Or is that just a deluded version of plagiarism?
  3. Isn't imitation the most sincerist form of flatter?
  4. Who was it that said imitation was the most sincerist form of flatter? Really, I honestly don't know.
Read, set, oh my god please comment. O.o (that doesn't count as begging).


  1. Interesting proposal.

    I agree that there is a general rule that all people follow (unless you're Zuckerberg or Jobs) that dictates that one does not steal another persons work. That being said, I do agree that if there wasn't some form of "copying" we wouldn't have True Blood, Interview With The Vampire, Twilight (shudder), etc. While I can not recall at the moment, I'm sure someone wrote about Vampires before Bram Stoker did. While I personally deplore Twilight, Stephanie Meyer did take a common topic and make it uniquely her own.

    Imitation is a compliment... an annoying compliment... and I don't know who said it. ;-)

  2. Thanks for commenting! I think it's a compliment too, although I have mixed feelings about it still. Like what if someone wanted to do fanfiction for my novel? I'd be flattered and a little intimidated all at the same time.

  3. Inspiration can sometimes be seen as imitation by a lesser person. Some are offended by someone using the same concept/idea and when it's transformed they see what could have been. I know I can identify my inspirations, some have given me new story ideas and some have just inspired me. I worry myself if I take, even if I did change it and make it my own. It's quite the issue, but it's all my own demons.

    I don't know who said the first quote but I will play Devils advocate...

    "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide."
    From Ralph Waldo Emerson's Self Reliance.