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Giving credit


In the introduction to a story I submitted today I explained that it had started out to be a sex story, but the characters wouldn't go for it and turned it into a romance. The idea for that intro came from several threads here about characters rebelling. I hope that isn't considered theft of ideas. It wasn't meant to be, if anybody is upset, I apologize. It did seem to fit my situation.

Chris Podhola


If what you did was theft, there wouldn't be an author on the planet who could claim originality.

Replies:   sejintenej

Theft is when you give your character a capability that a reader reminds you came from Michael Smith, the "Stranger in a Strange Land".



Thanks, it was included for a reason. This wasn't my first submission, but it was my first that wasn't a purely sex story. I wanted to warn off anyone who was expecting more of the usual. During my "cooling off" period between finishing the story and my proof reading I decided to use a different pen name. This actually made it unnecessary but by then I just thought of it as part of the story.



That is where the story comes to life. It is funny how life very seldom follows a set plan.


@Chris Podhola

If what you did was theft, there wouldn't be an author on the planet who could claim originality.

Agreed; we could only have one story involving "doover" because the rest would be stealing the story concept. As a parallel there are only 29 types of fraud - every fraud to date has been a variation on one of those 29

Replies:   El_Sol


I had a little logic professor that drew up a proof that there are only seven stories.

1. A
2. A + B = A + B
3. A + B = A or B
4. A + B = C = Not A and Not B and Not A + B

I don't remember the rest just the period long digression when I argued that # 2 and # 4 were just variations of # 1.

Then we got into the discussion that the Book of Genesis contains all possible simple templates for all stories.

I miss philosophy classes.

Crumbly Writer

As one of those who've discussed 'characters going rogue', I have a few comments:

1) Copyright theft involves the stealing of words, not of concepts. If you can write a better version of Star Wars, set in a completely independent universe, then more power to you. Writing inspires writing. If authors couldn't build on the word of others, then there would still only be one vampire, one zombie and one spy novel.

2) As I've stated before, your character know your story better than you do. You [often] have a predetermined destination in mind, but your characters will know whether that destination will work or not.

3) I'm not sure where the 'theft' accusation comes from? Because you changed your story mid-process? Because you included the ideas of characters 'acting out' as a plotline? That you credited someone else for giving you an idea? So far, I'm not seeing any potential problems from any of these.

Replies:   MountainLaurel

@Crumbly Writer

I may have given you the wrong impression, there was no theft accusation, it was an afterthought I had after the story was submitted. It occurred to me that after I used a different pen name, the introduction wasn't necessary, but it might look like I was taking credit for the the idea. Also, it applied to the introductory paragraph only. Anyway, thanks everybody for understanding.

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