I’ve previously mentioned how plots, characters and whole stories get stolen. There are unimaginative dolts, plagiarists and organised fraudsters out there, happy to rip you off.
Even if you’re an honest writer, it’s still possible, indeed likely, that what you’ve created has been done before.
As it says in Ecclesiastes 1:9—
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Where we get our ideas from is a mixture of memory, observation, imagination and sometimes appropriation. Even famous writers have filched storylines.
I’ve just read Austin Kleon’s Steal Like An Artist, which I recommend, as it’s full of common-sense wisdom and has lots of thought-provoking quotes, such as this one from film director Francis Ford Coppola:
“We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice. And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you.”
Austin Kleon’s website is worth a look: AUSTIN KLEON is a writer who draws.
I haven’t deliberately stolen plots for my five novels, but who knows where I got my ideas from? After all, I’ve read thousands of books in my 65 years, so I’m sure there’ll be similarities between my work and previous authors.
Subconscious plagiarism happens, even to a member of The Beatles: