Saturday, March 27, 2010

Plagiarism V Imagination

It was called copying back in grade school. Being labeled a copy catter was a terrible fate; a thing best avoided.

Inspiration often grows from events and stories of days gone by. How thin is the line between inspiration and copying?

Plagiarism is defined as: A piece of written work someone has claimed as his/her own. (This definition was copied from the Bing search engine.)

Bram Stoker's widow sued over a 1922 remake of DRACULA, claiming the movie maker neither asked permission nor paid royalties on the piece. NOSFERATU was a near duplication of the vampire story minus the renaming of the main character from COUNT DRACULA to COUNT ORLOCK. Stoker won the suit and all copies of the movie were destroyed.

TERMINATOR was criticized for being too similar to two OUTER LIMITS episodes titled THE SOLDIER and THE MAN WITH THE GLASS HAND. The stories had to do with soldiers going back into the past and a robotic human with a computer device in a glass looking hand.

ROMEO AND JULIET has been remade dozens of times. The theme of forbidden love is favored both in Hollywood and among romance authors.
Our heroes may indeed be from the wrong side of the tracks, or fall in love with the "wrong" woman during a family feud, but we are careful not to duplicate the story. Though the idea of family conflict, and running away together is too tasty to ignore, we always put a new spin on classic ideas.

Romance writers believe in love conquering all, so we do like our happy endings. Human experiences, and universal themes have remained the same over the centuries, so there is bound to be some similarities among artists.

I had to laugh when I listened to a pod cast about Santa Claus. "He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you're awake." The man responded "It sounds like the Gestapo." I used a similar joke in my book KINDERTRANSPORT. I won't accuse him of plagiarism; I'm sure others have made the same observation.

Inspiration hits us in a variety of ways, through news articles, overheard conversation, even dreams. We may find ourselves improving stories of old, or remaking history to our liking. Inspiration is simply a creative response to stimulus.
With our brilliant imaginations and natural talent?
Perish the thought.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Having been away for a while, I only discovered this morning that Blue Gold was chosen to participate in DABWAHA 2010, run by Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Whatever happens, I'm delighted to be nominated in some very strong company. If you want to take part in the voting, here's the link.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

More Notes From The Desk Of A BUSY New Author

Okay as everyone in the United States knows it's TAX TIME. Not the best time for anyone, I know. For a new author working hard on building a back list, trying to promote what she/he already has out there, and working a day job, getting everything together and blocking out a few hours to actually fill everything out is like pulling teeth.

Seriously it's painful. I'd rather be writing, or soaking a jacuzzi with silky bubble bath soothing my skin. Shoot sorry got a little lost in thought there. See what I have to deal with. Back to whining about filing out all these forms and numbers that start to blend together after a while.

Over the past few weeks I've learned a lot about what can and can't be written off (Good to know for next year). I've come up with a organizational system that will hopefully keep my from losing my mind next year.

Good luck to everyone out there.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How To Be A Likeable Writer

I’ve been writing for longer than I care to remember and if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s be a writer editors like. The publishing world might seem like a huge community, but it’s not. It’s tighter knit than you’d think. Word travels fast from one editor to another. So what qualities have I discovered can turn you into the editor’s darling? Here are my top five picks-

Be Dependable
Whether it’s freelance writing or books, publishing runs on tight deadlines. Miss one and you cost the editor sleepless nights and not to mention the publication money. Stick with deadlines no matter what. And I’d go so far to say that turn work in ahead of that deadline. If there’s a problem and the editor wants you to change something, you’ve got that extra time before the deadline’s staring you in the face.

Keep The Editor Up to Date
This quality goes hand in hand with the previous one. If you can’t meet your deadline, let the editor know ahead of time. Don’t wait for him or her to call asking where the manuscript is. If you’re having a problem with something or know you can’t get edits turned in on time, tell them and tell them early in the editing process. And ask questions if you’re not sure exactly what the editor wants. I’ve found if you have a problem and ask their advice you oftentimes get Brownie points for considering them as an expert who’s there to help.

Don’t Be A Prima Donna
This is a competitive business and word soon gets around who’s a problematic writer. Don’t let your bad reputation get in the way of making a sale to an editor who’s heard horror story about your temper tantrums.

Meet Them Half Way
There are going to be times when the editor and you don’t see eye to eye on something you’ve written. Look at it from their point of viewpoint before you talk to them. While you shouldn’t stay quiet about something you think the editor is being unreasonable about don’t argue just because you think you’re the writer, it’s your baby and that means you know best.

Be a Team Player
Think of your editor as you’re buddy. Their name’s going on your work too. They want to be as proud of the story or book as you are. Think of you both working together to make it the best project ever.

In a competitive business like writing, it’s not always the best writers who continually get published or have bylines in every magazine. It’s the ones who are reliable, always meet deadlines and get the reputation of being an easy person to work with.

Susan Palmquist is both a freelance writer and author. Her latest book, Sleeping With Fairies is published with Lyrical Press and a recent nominee for best book of the week at LASR. To find out more about Susan and her work visit

Free Blogger Templates by Isnaini Dot Com . Powered by Blogger and PDF Ebooks