Friday, November 9, 2012

Follow Friday - Eighty Four Is a Town in Pennsylvania

It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and two Follow Friday Features Bloggers each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the two Featured Bloggers of the week - Ramblings of a Coffee Addict and Paranormal Romance.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Do you mind books with similar ideas to other books? Similar concepts, backgrounds, retellings or pulled-to-publish fanfic?

To a certain extent, no. Because to a certain extent, very few story ideas are actually new. Dickens rehashed ideas from earlier stories. Twain rehashed ideas from earlier stories. Shakespeare rehashed ideas from earlier stories. I'm sure if we could ask him, we'd find that Homer rehashed ideas from earlier stories. All writers borrow from the past to a certain extent, and genre writers probably do so even more than most. Certain tropes of genre fiction are simply accepted, and as a result, they get reused time and time again by writers. Does the fact that Babylon 5 borrows from The Demolished Man bother me? Is the fact that Green Lantern borrows from the Lensman series problematic? No, not in the least. Because even though they borrow from their inspirational sources, the storytelling is done well enough, and there is enough difference in the execution to make the later works enjoyable to read.

But there is a tipping point where "borrowing" become "copying", and where "inspiration" becomes "plagiarism". For me, that point is best exemplified by Dennis L. McKiernan's Iron Tower trilogy, which is so derivative of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings that while I was reading it I spent my time wondering why I didn't just go and read Tolkien's books instead. While many fantasy writers borrow elements from Tolkien, and from the sources that inspired Tolkien, once your book becomes too much like a rehash of its predecessors, then there's just no reason to read it.

Go to subsequent Follow Friday: NGC 85 Is a Galaxy in Andromeda

Follow Friday     Home


  1. I like how you explained the difference between appropriate borrowing and inappropriate borrowing. Some people don't understand the difference anymore.

    My follow friday! Please visit!

  2. Definitely agree when it's appropriate to borrow!

    New Follower!
    Kristen @OCA

  3. I agree! There is a huge difference between copying and borrowing! New GFC follower. :)

    Here's my FF

  4. I think I recall Goethe saying something like, that he never once wrote something that hasn't existed before. And I really agree. It depends on what you do with your content, if you copy or use it as inspiration, if you make that stuff your very own. And then I really don't mind. :D

    Patricia // My Hop

  5. Ugh. I haven't read McKiernan's book, but that sounds upsetting.... You're right--there definitely is a line.

    (Old follower--I didn't really do FF this week, but I'm stopping by. :) )

    (Btw, check out the new blog hop we’re starting: Save-a-Word Saturday!)

  6. Hi,

    I'm enjoying this blog hop - my first! I just linked to your site, which looks really interesting.

    Kind regards,

  7. As long as the author understands the difference.

    New Follower!
    Aman @ Enticed by Books

  8. @veela-valoom: True. Every author, of necessity, borrows at least a little from the stories that have been told before. But telling the exact same story as a previously written story is different.

  9. @K: I'm glad you agree! Nice to meet you.

  10. @Daphne: A huge difference. I'm happy to read a retelling of something like the King Arthur myth, but I certainly don't want to read a ripped off version of The Mists of Avalon.

  11. @Patricia: I believe the Goethe quote you are referincing is this one,

    "The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but because they put what they have to say as if it had never been said before."

    And I agree with Goethe completely on this.

  12. @Susan Francino: McKiernan's book was a very thinly veiled rehash of The Lord of the Rings. For me, the most groan inducing moment was when a dwarf, a man, and an elf had to travel through an abandoned dwarven mine and ended up confronting a shadowy demon on a narrow bridge over a near-bottomless chasm.

  13. @Adele Cosgrove-Bray: I hope you enjoy the hop, and thank you.

  14. @Aman: If the author knows the difference, and makes sure to avoid copying, then the books they produce will be very different from the books another author who doesn't understand or care would produce.