Avoiding Plagiarism – or – “Reading off-genré while writing”

When you’re a writer, there’s always the chance that you’re going to be accused of plagiarism, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. The problem is that plagiarism isn’t only taking someone’s work and passing if off as your own, but is also defined as taking someone else’s ideas and doing the same. Considering that original ideas are as scarce as hens’ teeth, how in the world can a writer hope to avoid such an accusation? Well, my personal practice is that, if I’m going to be reading in between bouts of writing, I read off-genré.

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At present, the genré in which I’m writing is Visionary Fiction. This is a relatively new designation which includes a combination of fantasy, scifi, metaphysical and so on. I knew that it was going to be a bit difficult to find something to read, but I didn’t realize just how difficult until I ran into a bit of a writer’s block and decided to take a break. It seemed as though every book I picked up involved a portion (no matter how small) of something I address in Folded Dreams, even if what I’m reading is historical fiction, elves, magic or romance. As a matter of fact, I have a half dozen books open in Kindle right now because I only got so far before running into a similar story-line as my book.

The same situation arises when I watch a movie. I can’t tell you how many times in the past week that I’ve had to change channels five minutes into some film or another because I didn’t want it to influence my writing. That’s not to say I avoid all of them; I do look for inspiration for surroundings and descriptions (adjectives, phrases, etc.) from whatever I read or watch, but I’m so paranoid on the subject of plagiarism, that if a subject comes even close to what I’m writing, I step away from it and go watch PBS, read poetry (and I have to be careful there as well!) or either take a walk or a nap. About the only thing I’m safe reading – and that only relatively – is non-fiction.

I subscribed to Bright House cable television service for the first time in about 2 years this week. Movies, y’all. Lots and lots of movies that I haven’t seen…and all in my favourite genrés: fantasy, time travel, ghost stories and so on. I’ve been lucky that we now have a 24-hour news channel, Food Network and The Travel Channel, and that one of the channels has been showing nothing but all eight Harry Potter films for days now, and that The Conjuring and The Conjuring II (stories from the files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren) were On-Demand, otherwise I would have slept my week away!

Maybe I am paranoid, but the idea of anyone finding cause to say I plagiarized any part of Folded Dreams is horrifying to me. So I stay off-genré as much as I can when I’m reading or watching television. “Writer’s Life”. I swear, sometimes it can be hell. Just sayin’.

 

Will you guys PLEASE just STOP, already???!!!

Okay, enough is enough! I’ve not written a word in the past week and a half and it’s all your faults! I mean, what with the poetry, the prose, the short stories…THE NOVELS (like my most most recent full read, “A Smile in One Eye…” by Ralph Webster)…and the book reviews, my poor little Folded Dreams novel has gone to hell in a handbasket…SO WILL YOU GUYS ALL JUST PLEASE STOP ALREADY???!!!

You know who you are 😡

Yeah...these. Wanna see? Click!

Yeah…these. Wanna see? Click!

 

JK Rowling put out 3 – count ’em – three – new little books, after she and her cohorts had the audacity to distract me with The Cursed Child. I bought them. Of course. And read them, one right after the other. Of course.

 

 

And then…and then…I discovered a JK approved series, written by a guy named G. Norman Lippert, called – get this – The James Potter Series, based on the wonderful wizarding world of magic created by Ms. Rowling. Not only that, but to make matters worse, the ebooks are free!!

Are you freaking kidding me???

I downloaded the lot – all four books – last night.

Of course.

And have read one and a half already.

Of course.

AND he writes other good stuff, too. Of course. So…

…I bought two of his other books.

You got it……..Of course.

And then there’s Roger Moore (no, not the 007, “My name is Bond; James Bond” version; this one is a freaking awesome author and poet), whose work is inescapable for me, because it hits me where I live. So I spend a lot of time on his site.

And my Kindle.

And the umpteen book review blogs I follow.

And then follow up with all the relaxing blogs I follow, just to try to get back in touch with my muse.

Who seems to be on holiday.

Of course.

So at the risk of ree-duhhn-dense-ee…

Will all you guys please just stop, already – like, how about YOU all go on vacation for awhile and let me get some work done!!

SHEESH!

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RESOLVED!! Harry Potter: Cursed Child is on the way!! YAYYY!!!

 Resolved! the Cursed Child is on its way!!


Resolved! the Cursed Child is on its way!!

Just got off the phone with Amazon Customer Service: RESOLVED!! and my Harry Potter: the Cursed Child is on the way!! Yayyy!!

I’m completely disappointed with our local USPS. The lady I spoke with resolutely refused to take responsibility for what can only be believed to be theft by a postal carrier (considering that the package was scanned as supposedly being delivered to me on my porch…when in actuality I met him at the truck and all he handed me were two VA appointment cards for my hubby and a letter for my grandson).

I was very discouraged when I called Amazon’s customer service and told the representative, Let, my story…including that The Cursed Child was supposed to be my birthday and official retirement present to myself.

But, bless her heart, she not only resolved the issue by issuing a replacement copy, and with one-day shipping…no charge, but also wished me a happy belated birthday and pleasant retirement, to boot!

I am now as in love with Amazon as I am with JK Rowling (as an author, by the way!) and Harry Potter, whether he has a Cursed Child or not!!

THANK YOU, AMAZON!

UPDATE: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

…yeah. The United States Postal Service says Amazon will have to take care of the missing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Way to shirk responsibility, USPS.

Newest photo for milk carton: Missing: the Cursed Child

Newest photo for milk carton:
Missing: the Cursed Child

 

Harry Potter: Cursed Child – my birthday present to me. NOT.

Here is my sad, sad tale, as commented on quillable.ca :

Screenshot_2016-08-08-15-05-46I pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (the very first rehearsal version of the screenplay that was published), from Amazon, as a birthday/retirement present to myself.

I was SO excited and waiting on pins & needles for it to arrive on the 5th of August that I started meeting the postman at the street beginning on my birthday, which was the 3rd! Yayyy!!????

Not.

It didn’t arrive on Friday the 5th, and nor did it get here on Sat. the 6th. And my internet was down last week so I couldn’t check on Amazon for delivery/tracking until yesterday…Mon the 8th.

“Delivered Aug 5, left on porch by door.” – that’s the postal notice listed on Amazon. How could that have been, when the mailman never even had a chance to step out of the mail truck to even deliver our mail for 4 days, what with me standing at his vehicle door, blocking him?!

Called USPS. Lady said, “It was scanned in the truck and noted left on porch.”

“Lady,” I said, “I met him at the truck for FOUR days in a row. He never got out of the truck…he did NOT deliver it.”

She: “Sending someone to your street to investigate and ask your neighbours if it was accidentally delivered to them.”

“When will you do this?”

“I’m sending someone to your street now.” (this is Mon. at 12:40 in the afternoon, mind)

Tues (today): have approached all my neighbours…no one from the post office has knocked on their door, no one has contacted them in any other wise, either. Cursed Child is still missing as of mail delivery today.

Called post office today to ask why no one came to street to investigate. Response: “She left right after I got off the phone with you Monday.”

“I sat outside all day waiting. No one came. All 10 of my neighbours will corroborate this.”

……

(click, went the phone.)

At least I got to read a review. 😞😭😭

Where is my Cursed Child book, USPS? I paid for my birthday/retirement present…Amazon got their money…J.K. Rowling will get her royalties. You even got your money for postage…SO WHY DON’T I GET MY DAMN BOOK??

Nightime rituals – or – “The TV, the Sleep Timer & Me”

"...'til it watches me..."

“…’til it watches me…”

I’m a creature of habit when it comes to nighttime rituals. As a matter of fact, there is a serious, mutual bedtime ritual between my tv, its sleep timer and me.

It is quite likely that if we did not have one another to depend on, I would never sleep, the sleep timer would de-calibrate and the tv would probably go into shock and blow up (it’s a very old tv). And the cat, who sleeps with me, would also likely suffer insomnia.

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Oh, and Harry Potter would never find out he’s a wizard and Voldemort would destroy the world…including we Muggles…or Frodo would never make it out of the Shire and Sauron and Christopher Lee would destroy Middle Earth…and all of we Muggles.

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Ever since I bought the first Harry Potter movie on VHS (oh yeah…that long ago), and then the very first Lord of the Rings (uh huh…also on VHS), it has been my habit to put one or the other movie on, set the sleep timer on 2 1/2 – 3 hours and fall asleep with dreams of sugar plum elves and flesh eating slugs dancing in my head.

Or as I say, “I’ll watch the movie until the movie watches me.”

Yep. This was a fluffy filler-post.

Time for my nighttime tv, timer and me ritual. Nitey-nite, all!! 😄

...will Frodo make it out of the Shire tonight?? Better pop the tape in...you know...just to make sure!

…will Frodo make it out of the Shire tonight?? Better pop the tape in…you know…just to make sure!