Sunday, February 21, 2010

Idiots being idiots again

One little tweet from Neil Gaiman, and I found out about this. Can all this madness please stop? I feel like this is just a page out of the haters-being-haters playbook. JK Rowling wrote an incredibly satisfying seven-book series that captured the imaginations of both children AND adults, and I don't think I'm exaggerating that she is one of the reasons that being a bookworm is "cool" again.

Now then. I'm going to use a quote from the article that absolutely sums up the crux of what I feel on the subject. "Non-writers think it’s the ideas, rather than the execution, that make a book. They’ve got that backward." It is one thing to get an idea. Ideas are easy things. Everyone has ideas. However, they're slippery little suckers. Because putting your ideas to paper and having them make sense is the most difficult part. It's part of the reason that keeps me employed as a copy editor. It's a big reason why I hit road blocks in my writing, such as the very common "writer's block". It's not a lack of ideas... it's being at a loss as to how to go about getting the idea to the page and have it come off as how you imagined it in your head.

If I was a stupid person willing to sue for plagiarism, here is one of my own ideas that I have turned my pen to, and the corresponding work/tv show/movie/book/etc. that I would sue (but I wouldn't, because damnit, the execution is the key and not the idea!):

My work: Aphrodite's Daughter (about a matchmaker that finds out she's the unwitting daughter of Aphrodite)
Corresponding work that I feel (and others have felt) are similar to my work:
• Valentine (American TV series... albeit quite short-lived)
• Percy Jackson and the Olympians (book series and soon-to-be movie series... in which a boy realizes he's Poseidon's son... I think, I haven't read the books yet, but my friend's son has)
• Should I also sue all greek and roman myths as well, for using a pantheon as a basis for my story, or should I be sued for using them?
• Should Neil Gaiman (author of American Gods and Anansi Boys) in turn sue me, because I used the idea of someone being a child of a god (Anansi Boys) in my work?

Let's be clear here in where the ideas came from (in case anyone tries for the "I read or saw something else and then wrote" defense). Valentine came out over a year after I wrote Aphrodite's Daughter, and all I did was see it on the TV, laugh, and call up my friend Lorraine and say "Do you recognize this idea from somewhere else?" Percy Jackson and the Olympians, I had no idea existed until this fall when my friend's son was describing the latest book to me after he had finished reading it. And for good measure, I wrote Aphrodite's Daughter perhaps a year before I read Anansi Boys.

In short, I feel like this case against JK Rowling is equivalent to someone suing McDonald's for burning themselves for their coffee being too hot. Sadly, we've seen how THOSE lawsuits went. I just pray and hope that THIS lawsuit is seen for the disgusting money-grubbing ploy that it is.

*dismounts high-horse and goes back to bed*

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