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.

vfa-member-banner_-use-html-code_a-href-httpvisionaryfictionalliance-wordpress-com-img-src-url-of-img-end-a

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’.

 

Advertisements

Thoughts & Inspiration – God, Bob Ross & Roger Moore

"Happy little clouds"!

“Happy little clouds”!

My husband got into an accident a few days ago and wound up with five fractured ribs. While this may have been great inspiration for the writer of a medical novel, it better suited me to take a few days off from writing. So I  spent this week contemplating life, art, God, writing and Roger Moore, poet 😏

Now, the day after hubby got busted up, I took a walk to the corner store, about 3/4 mile away. I’ve not spent much time outside lately because of a nagging, sometimes debilitating health issue, so I was really soaking up the sun and fresh air on my way there. The sky was beautiful behind the various types of clouds floating around, and the sun was wonderfully brilliant, though it hurt my eyes even with my ‘blu-blocker’ sunglasses on.

Nature is beautiful; regardless of 97° heat and humidity, it never ceases to be awe inspiring. The slight whooshing sound as a breeze travels through a stand of Australian pine, cicadas singing so loudly that you can barely hear yourself think, watching the changing shapes of the clouds looming over the tree tops and the rainbow colours that appear where the clouds drift in front of the sun…well, let’s face it – God is indeed the Master Artist.

On my way back home, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the sky. With the sun at my back, it was much easier to study all those wonderful, blooming, bright white clouds that were slowly mixing with the angry looking storm clouds heading in from the west. Iridescent pastels and golds never disappear, even when they are overlaid with a myriad of values of grey.

Who hasn’t looked at clouds and seen pictures! I saw a porcupine, a pig, a woman’s head with one of those Greek  goddess style upswept hair-do’s and at the top of a particularly spectacular configuration, I even saw a replica of one of those huge statues of Christ the Redeemer, like the one in the Andes Mountains, between Argentina and Chile, just south of Mt. Aconcagua (nearly the same as the one we’ve seen on television during this year’s Olympics in Brazil). I mean, watching these clouds billow into forms just made me smile.

They seemed like such happy little clouds…hmmm.

Does anyone remember Bob Ross? He was a wonderful artist, well known even to this day because of his decade long television series, “The Joy of Painting”. He was then, and still is today (although he passed away from cancer many decades ago), famous for adding, as he put it, “happy little clouds” and “happy little trees” to his paintings (Melody Sheep/PBS did a music mix, “Bob Ross: Happy Little Clouds” here). Studying the sky that day, a random, perhaps nonsensical, thought occurred to me that God was ready for another assistant to share His status as Master Artist, so He invited Bob Ross to join his wife in heaven, just so we might all still be able to enjoy his happy little clouds!

I seem to be able to find inspiration in abundance, through my own thoughts and memories or by sheer chance…like when I’m “introduced” to people via social media or through my blog here. Sometimes it’s because of personal interaction with others, sometimes it’s because I have been touched by another’s writing.

My most recent ‘for instance’ was day before yesterday when I really spent time reading the works of contemporary poet, Roger Moore (no, not the erstwhile “007” – – – the other Roger Moore!). I was so entranced that I Googled him and wound up reading far more than he shares on his blog. In fact, I found myself so engrossed in his short stories, prose and poetry that before I knew it, I had spent 3 hours in the the company of his work…and gained much inspiration for my book(s).

Now, Roger Moore, art, ‘happy little clouds’, memories and God are not the only places I find inspiration. I don’t just follow bloggers, tweeters and posters…I read what you all write. I have found that my time on the internet would be very dull without you!

Folded Dreams – new chapter posted on Goodreads!

 

20150723_203116

Folded Dreams, the novel, is going slowly, but I’m not sussed about it. It’s a choice: my eyes or my book, and without my eyes, there will be no book, at least that’s the tack I’m taking for the time being. So to while away the hours this morning, as I wait for these eye drops to wake my eyeballs up, I posted another chapter of Folded Dreams on my writing page on Goodreads. The title of the chapter is:

“…black as a raven’s wing.”

For those of you who read the prequel, my debut book, “Folded Dreams – the Beginning“, you will recognize the character. For those who haven’t, that book is available in print and on Kindle on Amazon (as well as Amazon worldwide) and, in print, at Barnes & Noble and CreateSpace. And, although the novel is good enough as a stand-alone, the prequel gives a really good, freaky, background to the story!

I should stop for a cuppa, now – don’t want to overdo things this early in the day and suffer a pounding headache later. Just suffice it to say that, while I’ve had to give my eyes a rest from close work, I’ve been watching a lot of PBS (which always gives me inspiration) and taking copious notes for Folded Dreams. And now that I have my new monthly quota of data speed into which I can tap to get online, I might even be able to post the first chapter of Waking Up Dead! on Goodreads as well!