Let me just say that I'm super happy to be back on the chain! This week's topic was started by Annie. She asked:
Do you ever get inspired by a real-life event or news story and fear you're ripping off the story too much? Do you ever get inspired by a song or poem or line from a book and worry you're stealing that original person's idea?
Please check out Michelle's fabulous answer from the day before and Terri who will answer this question tomorrow.
What a tough call. We all know that this has been done in the past:
Les Miserables inspired The Fugitive
Emma inspired Clueless
The Taming of the Shrew inspired The Ten Things I Hate About You
ect, ect, ect. The list is a mile long.
How can people do this?
The secret is in the weaving. Have you ever watched a textile worker at a loom? It's beautiful and fascinating work.
Strung through the loom are the base threads, usually a bland off-white that no one will ever notice due to the colorful thread woven through them. Those colorful threads are your characters, subplots, and setting. They must be distinctive enough to display a story never told before even if the base threads are the same as another rug. Now, if the base threads are showing through or your design resembles another rug, well, then you have a problem.
I find the easiest solution is to put a bit of myself into my characters. I mean, there's no one quite like me just as I imagine there's no one quite like you. How many characters have you read that like to pet bumble bees (they're surprisingly soft and don't mind) and will fight to the death for the little triangle corners of a thin crust pizza?
So weave away, my artistic friends, and let the designs flow!
Incidentally, song writers have the same challenge. (I found this video extra hilarious because I played cello grade school through high school.)