The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

Ellie Johnson

Inspiration vs. Copying

Many times throughout my time writing my manuscript, I have actively thought about how I don’t want to copy anyone else’s work and keep mine entirely unique. This becomes difficult when you are reading really good books while you’re writing or are teaching a theme that is similar to ones from your favorite novels, and you might begin to stress over the originality of your work if it is not 100% new and unlike anything ever written.

In this day and age, it can feel difficult to create a completely original idea for a story, but in reality taking a little bit of inspiration from your favorite stories is helpful when writing your own story. When I was explaining my fears to my mom, she told me that after she reads a really good book, she wants more like it. If everyone tried to write something completely different from other books with new themes, people who enjoy reading books with similar traits will be short of things to read. Also, it is more fun to write something that you would enjoy reading, so if the vibe of your writing feels similar to your favorite books don’t fret.

However, inspiration can quickly cross over into copying. Of course this doesn’t apply to fanfiction or anything like that because the entire point of those stories is to put a new spin on beloved books, movies, and tv shows while using their characters, but when writing a new book when you do not have the rights to anyone else’s characters, I believe that copying begins to happen when your characters are eerily similar to those of another book or you continually look back at the original work in order to actively try to make yours similar.

The way to take inspiration from your favorite books while keeping yours original is, in my opinion, making the vibe or style of your book generally resemble that of the books in your genre, not replicating any scenarios, characters, or anything else from the books you love. In short, your book idea should have come from your imagination. Use your own judgement to tell whether or not you are copying.


Sneak peak: next post will be about the best places to work and how to focus.

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