Criminal Minds – When Artists Steal (Day 6/ 15habits Series)

Today I’ve been encouraged to copy and steal other artists’ ideas or materials. Moi, steal? Sounds dubious.

As with a couple of Goins’ previous challenges, I don’t know whether to blush or be smug this time. Thinking about it, yep, I’ve already done that. Steal!

And yet he makes sense. I particularly appreciated the quote from Bono about how U2 came upon their ‘unique’ sound when they first started out. It’s so good – and as a lifelong U2 fan – I’ll say it again here…

“We were just trying to copy everyone else, but we weren’t good enough. This is what came out.” Brilliant!

Likewise I can hereby acknowledge that the underlying premise of my novel is not entirely original. Grown ups especially may draw parallels with previously published works.

However, I’ve weaved an original plot, characters, settings, themes and ending into my own manuscript. And I’m convinced that as a new writer I’ve stamped my unique style throughout the pages. Yes there’s some good and evil stuff, yes the message may sound familiar, but that’s only through the lens of a grown up eye. And it’s not written for you.

When I present my finished work of art, a novel for pre-teens, for publication and ultimately for eager children to get caught up in the story, they won’t be focussing on whether there are similarities with such and such author from a previous generation.

In the same way when viewers have left the cinema, having watched yet another kidnapping-action-adventure movie, they tend not to groan about the common elements of previous productions. If anything, they tend to enjoy the familiar themes.

Now I feel justified in what I’ve aimed for and created. Goins says it’s OK – and he seems to know a thing or two about writing. And seeing as he’s the one to have proposed this stealing stuff, I’m sure he won’t complain about me pinching that quote from his own site! 

Now I just need to finish that novel…

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