Overcoming Fears

As a writer the one thing that I am most afraid of is plagiarism. Not that I will actively seek to do so, because that is totally wrong, but that I will unknowingly plagiarise someone’s work because it’s influenced me in such a way. In saying that, the amount of works out there that are similar is astonishing. Where is the line drawn, though?

For example, I read a book called Feed by M. T. Anderson. Feed is set in a world where about 73% of Americans are directly connected to a huge computer network via a device implanted in their brain called a ‘feed’. The feed allows them access to entertainment, to chat to each other, shop, even rewind their own memories. I mentioned this book in a conversation with Mutay the other day, and she noted how similar it is to an episode of Black Mirror, ‘The Entire History of You’, where people have a ‘grain’ implanted in them that records everything they see, hear or do. Whilst not entirely the same concept with the entertainment system, etc., I can definitely see the similarities. In saying that, I’m not out here trying to accuse Charlie Brooker of plagiarism.

I remember in Media Studies learning about simulacrum. I have always found the idea of simulacrum to be interesting because it is a representation or imitation of a person or thing – not necessarily plagiarism. I guess that is what is happening in today’s society. Most of the media being pumped out daily isn’t original, it’s just a recycled version of something else. Songs, films, tv shows, most of it really. 

Anyway, I’m not really sure what direction I wanted to take this post in and I feel like I’m rambling. I just really wanted to get shit off my chest because as I am currently working on my manuscript, I’m really trying not to let things stop me. So, despite these fears I know I should keep pushing on because this has always been a dream of mine – I shouldn’t let anything get in my way.

I’ve been working on a story since I went to China in 2011 and reading back on it now, I realise how influenced I was by ‘V for Vendetta’ because it was something I had watched before I started writing. I guess that’s where all of these fears stem from. I wouldn’t want a publisher to turn around and say to me, “What the fuck is this shit? You literally just copied the Wachowski Brothers!” I’m planning on redoing parts of my story, anyway, but it’s something that often crossed my mind when I was rereading it.

Nevertheless, 2017 is the year I overcome these fears. I’ve wanted to be an author ever since the dawn of time and it’s finally time to put my arse into gear. No-one is going to become an author for me, it’s something I have to achieve myself but I can do that with the support from others, too. To anyone having doubts about what they’re doing just think, “Is this what I want to do?” and if it is – keep at it. Be the you you truly want to be. ❤️


  • Tara

    I am glad you’re trying to overcome your fears and pushing through with your writing. Instead of plagiarism, I’ve had the issues of trying to come up with something new, something original, but with so many mediums out there, it’s HARD trying to come up with something fresh. So many of our tropes and cliches stems back to stories even from the antiquities! So yeah, that’s been my problem.

    I think it’s normal for us to be influenced by what we know/saw into our writing. That’s why there’s that popular phrase, “Write what you know”. And that’s a good rule to go by because I’ve read things where people wrote what they don’t know, and it ended up pissing me off more than anything LOL

    Bottom line, Chynna, write that manuscript! The basis of your ideas and such may not be new, but what matters is how you present it in your distinctive style 🙂 I hope you succeed in becoming the author you dream of being <3

  • Georgie

    I can give you a pretty funny example of someone who has copied his own shit. Nicholas Sparks hhahahha. Honestly, though, it’s a lot like the logistics behind music: there are only so many chords that can be played, that work together, that sound great together. There are videos on YouTube of young people playing guitars with the chords Am Em C D (or something like that, my memory fails me) to sing about fifty different songs because holy hell Lady Gaga actually does use the same chords as the damn Beatles. There are only so many unique songs that can be written, and people just have to think of more creative ways.

    Similar to writing. You gotta think of a creative way to do it, to be different. Recycled blogs, LOL we have had this conversation multiple times in our chats, about “popular” bloggers just recycling other people’s work instead of coming up with something original.

    You’re going to rock your book. It’s going to scream Chynna, I know it will. You have an attitude that no one else has. While you might have been inspired by V for Vendetta, I’ve no doubt been inspired by other things I’ve read when I’ve attempted novels or written short stories. Stories can sound similar, but I know you can write something that is going to stand out from the crowd. ?

  • Rezina

    I think a bit of that is inevitable and I feel, if I were the author being influenced by your work, I would feel happy instead of whatever other emotion. Only because that means that other work has influenced you in some way. An example I think of is the Lord of the Ring series. Lord of the Ring has influenced so many different fantasy novels, that it’s really easy to find a book and go “Oh this author must have read Lord of the Rings” even though it’s not mentioned anywhere in the summary.

    I think as long as you do you and stick to what you want to write about, then your manuscript will end up sounding great! I learned in a class that there are some theorists who say that a bit of you always seeps into your writing somehow. Even though you’re not doing it consciously! And I can relate to that fear of plagiarism because I feel it all the time when I’m writing something.

    It’s completely normal to have those doubts and fears and I’m sure that you’ll achieve that dream of becoming an author.

  • Meaghan

    I relate to this so much. I often have to reread things that I write to make sure it sounds okay & like *I* wrote it.

    Everyone keeps talking about Black Mirror omg. I haven’t watched it yet, but I might start it soon!

    I’ve never heard of simulacrum omg. Guess you learn something new everyday!

    I hope you’re able to overcome this fear. I know you’ll be an amazing author. You’ve grown so much as a writer since I last read your blog! x

  • Maroon Caludin

    I know how you feel. Sometimes I worry about such things. But really if your not intentionally trying to copy (like it just happens to be similar) you’re fine. Keep at it and don’t worry!

  • Nancy

    Plagiarism is not a joke and should be taken seriously. There are people who work hard to come up with their story/idea/output and it’s not cool for some n00b to steal the idea and call it their own. I do agree that a lot of things that are on media these days are not original. It’s a remake of something else.

    Hope your story will be kickin’ some butt when you’re finished with it! I’m sure you’ll put together a great one! Good luck with everything and you’ll definitely conquer your fears ♥

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