Well, three years after I started self-publishing my books and realised the need to blog regularly and appropriately about them, I am finally admitting I’m as insecure as the next person. So I’ve joined the Insecure Writers Support Group, hoping to link in with other
insecure writers who feel it worthwhile to band together on a blog hop, on the first Wednesday of each month, to talk about our experiences.
I had planned to talk about my books, and that dreadful thing about comparing one’s own work to the wonderful examples in one’s own genre (or for the same target audience), but something came in my emails late last month that made me stop and wonder… If you follow IBD Authors, you’ll have seen it too.
“Ready-made story arcs, character sheets, chapter breakdowns, settings/locations.”
“to save you hundreds of hours of research time”
Um. Am I the only writer insecure enough to think this might be a shade too close to plagiarism? It’s difficult to get a really good plot without treading on (or even unwittingly reproducing) something that has been done before. My writing tutor suggested that we could take inspiration from other stories – especially citing the Bible – but that doesn’t mean copying those plots, does it?
I stumbled across this issue when I came to do Willoughby’s Narrathon stories for Castle Marsh’s Solstice season (on the Princelings website each Monday in December, if you missed it). He retold in his own words the Snow Queen, the carol of Good King Wenceslas, a Christmas Carol, and The Nutcracker. The key thing is, I acknowledged that. I’m not entirely sure where his story of the Princess and the Pea comes from, since he changed it quite a bit, but I think fairy tales and legends are generally considered fair game, especially as they usually revolve around morality tales or heroism.
But plot blueprints?
Heaven knows I get stuck often enough when writing my stories. But isn’t that what being a writer is all about? Crafting the story, twisting the tale, getting your characters out of the mess in to which they’ve got themselves without bamboozling the reader?
“A turn key solution is using writing prompts or utilizing plot blueprints to get the creative juices flowing.”
Writing prompts are one thing – for writing exercises, even if I am thinking of putting some of my flash fiction out as a collection. But plot blueprints?
What do you think?
Do leave a comment below, and visit other insecure writers here:
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