borrowing ideas/complete storylines

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borrowing ideas/complete storylines

Post by Balor on Mon Oct 19, 2009 8:27 pm

So last night the wife and I were watching old movies on On Demand, and we came across They Live. I remembered loving it as a kid, so I was, like, hey, let's watch it! So we did.

I hadn't seen it in quite a long time, and it struck me that the storyline was VERY familiar. Today I pulled out Nightmares and Dreamscapes and opened up to The Ten O'clock People. Sure enough, the plot is almost exactly the same. Guy sees things not many others can. He meets others who see the same things. He goes to a meeting to discuss what they're going to do about it. There's a mole in the group. The scary things that are taking over and controlling the world show up and kill everyone.

Now, the endings are completely different, but the main jist of both tales are almost exactly the same. In fact, the original story that They Live was based on is called "Eight O'clock in the Morning". Pretty similar, huh? I just find this VERY interesting, and it's also funny that, as I looked into it today, there's even a section on TOP's Wikipedia page discussing this very fact.

I guess my question is, what is acceptable when it comes to borrowing storylines? Is it considered plagarism? Not that this is something that I'm wont to do - I am not above allowing another tale to inspire me (such as a character in one of my books is a homage to the Bethlehem character from the book The Postman) - but it seems strange to me.

What do you guys think? What would you do, Ken, John, Nick, and Sadie, if a story like "Ten O'clock People", written by a relative unknown, came through your slush pile? Would you consider it plagarism?

This subject fascinates me.

Balor

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Re: borrowing ideas/complete storylines

Post by Tall Tyrion on Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:07 am

That's interesting, especially in light of the recent Richard Ridyard affair.

Still, storylines and ideas are not the same as stealing phrases and paragraphs. It's like a band writing a song based on a simple blues riff. Sure, hudreds of other songs have been written on the same riff, but you can make it your own.

"8 O'Clock in the Morning" is vailable online. I plan to compare them both and see.

http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/9412/8oclock.html

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Re: borrowing ideas/complete storylines

Post by Tall Tyrion on Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:41 am

Aaaaaaaaaaaand I can't find my copy of "Nightmares and Dreamscapes". I've tossed all my stacks, and it's just not there.

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Re: borrowing ideas/complete storylines

Post by Brian Sammons on Tue Oct 20, 2009 4:19 am

I took it! BWAH HAH HAH HAH HAH HAH! Twisted Evil

Ok, serious now. I remember thinking the same thing back when I read the King story as I love the Carpenter flick. Not JCís best flick but itís a fun popcorn movie with one of the best fights in movie history. So good in fact that it was even parodied in the South Park episode ďCripple FightĒ (look it up if you donít believe me.)
Now as far as the question goes, I guess it would be a subjective thing. That is, such things canít be broken down into easily measured pieces, therefore it might just come down to personal opinion. Do I think the story and the film are a bit too closely related? Yes. So if I was a publisher and I got that story Iíd probably pass on that just to be safe. But then if I was a publisher and King sent in anything Iíd definitely feel compelled to use itÖIím such a sellout. Wink

Hereís an example of what I mean and what I personally did. Iím editing an anthology right now for a publisher and an author I admire, respect, and love reading sent in a story that, too me at least, sounded a bit too much like a famous film. Now I was torn. I liked the author and his work and wanted him in the book, but the story really did sound like a certain movie Iím very well acquainted with. Even if he didnít see it that way I did, so after some thinking about it I contacted him and told him so. Luckily he was very cool with it all and pitched another idea that I liked much more anyway.

Brian Sammons

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Re: borrowing ideas/complete storylines

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