Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Plagarism vs. Inspiration

**Sorry my post is late, dear people. My internet was down. Again. GRRR.

My series has a female protagonist and a love triangle involving a vampire and a werewolf.

And that's the shit that nearly killed a genre.

Can you say done to death? I bet you can.

If you read urban fantasy at all, I bet you can name at least 4 series with that same premise without even thinking hard. A similar basis or premise is not plagiarism. Granted, there are plenty of UF series that are populated with unique monsters and a unique premise that might follow similar 'beats' with a standard romance or police procedural. That's not plagiarism either. There are plenty of ways to take an inspired twist on an old standard. Just like lots of UF stories evolved with a variation on the love triangle, or without one at all. But that particular 'premise' worked (for a while) as good as any romance with a lovely lady having to choose between:

**PICK ONE from each set: 
   a handsome and (wealthy/upper class)
      (businessman/doctor/lawyer/cop/sport hero/cowboy)
or his rival who is:
   a handsome (blue-collar/down-to-earth)
      (businessman/doctor/lawyer/cop/sport hero/cowboy).

Okay, that is a terrible over-simplification but seriously, the story has been told over and over and over without it being plagiarism. It's what the individual author brings to the story, how he/she creates character, the values instilled, the settings, the time period, the scene's settings, the hurdles they must leap...

It's almost like we love the story and take comfort in knowing that our heroine will somehow decide between the two. It's that HOW that compels us to read on.

So yeah, I've done the vamp/werewolf/chick triangle. What's different in mine? My chick is a witch with a big destiny unfolding around her in and around Cleveland, Ohio. Her estranged mother and unknown father are pieces of an underlying puzzle. She gains a foster daughter, a dog, and a live-in Nana in the first book. My werewolf is a hunky rock n roller who seems to have the upper hand over the vampire. My werewolf is going to be king of his kind, but is reluctant to do so, and as he takes on that responsibility--more or less for HER--it comes with a price that stresses their relationship in unforseeable ways. The vamp, who already is a powerful vamp among his kind with wealth and prestige, looses his status--more or less because of HER--and somehow he seems to be the one there with his hand out to aid her while the werewolf is off with other is he gaining more of her interest by being more available?

Add to that a bunch of old granny witches, a diverse pack of werewolves, and a haven full of beautiful vampires--some of whom are historical figures in hiding, some strange creatures like dragons, unicorns, phoenix, and griffons, a trio of evil sisters who are vampire-harpies, and an angry god trying to steal our heroine from all love interests?

That's what I bring to the "hum-drum" love triangle premise to spice it up. If I hear of another woman/werewolf/vamp triangle, I don't think, "wow they ripped me off" I think, "I wonder what their take on it is?" Because I expect they have done something that reflects them in their story like mine reflects me.

I figure we are all adult, professional authors and we know if we are inspired. And we know if we are stealing. Why take the easy risk? Why steal? You risk a career. A fun, awesome one. Take the harder risk, the inspired one, the one where you think and be creative on your own. The one where the pay off is greater...where you hold your head high and get to believe that you really did do something awesome.

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