X= Xeroxing (Copying) Others

They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and while I think that rings true to an extent in writing, I also think there is a fine line that a writer must be careful not to cross. As an aspiring writer and avid reader, I know that I’m influenced by the work of other writers. But inspiration and imitation are two very different things.

Sometimes I catch myself using character traits clearly lifted from the character of another writer. Usually I can catch myself and remove the obvious copying going on, but it leaves me worried that there might be smaller bits and pieces of copying that has sneaked past in edits.

What about you, do you find yourself putting bits of other writer’s work in your own?



2 thoughts on “X= Xeroxing (Copying) Others

  1. I don’t know that I worry about it, because I’m sure everyone copies and is inspired off everyone else. There are tropes and archetypes in books that just get used and re-used (the unwanted family member turning into someone important/a princess, the tough character actually having a softer side, etc.) and most of the time, they’re based on humanity, in general, so I don’t know that you can say you’re copying (unless, of course, you’re so close to someone else’s creation that your “creation” is just a fanfiction rendition of theirs).

    One character may be like another and yet still be different, with their own ideas, favorite phrases, ways of thinking, etc., and as long as they aren’t “cookie-cutter” identical, I think you’d be okay.

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