I'll love her forever for her faith in me.
Except I wasn't that bright, was I? I wasn't even clever enough at fifteen to figure out that by not citing my source, I'd passed his work off as mine until someone said the word 'plagiarism'. After I'd looked it up, and realized with one of those nasty thumps that makes you feel two inches tall that I was guilty, I made damned sure I never made the mistake again.
That was writing nonfiction, something that doesn't particularly fill me with smurfy joy and glittery rainbows. Not like fiction does. Okay. Maybe not smurfy joy. Don't let it shock you when I confess I might be a titch more
Except when I get a hold of inspiration and break it.
I was attempting my first SFR novel. There was a TV show I loved. I wanted to imitate the tone. Got a third of the way into the book. A contest came up judged by librarians and book sellers. I entered the opening of that WIP. The scores came back. They were good. The comments were enthusiastic. "My customers would love this! It reminds me of *name of TV show*." This is how I discovered that I seem to have a knack for mimicry. Not a line of what I'd written was plagiarism per se, but I'd done so well imitating the voice of the show that two different judges nailed it by name. Inspiration had crossed a line that gave me the willies.
I took the WIP out and buried it, unfinished, in the backyard.
My cold comfort is that I can do this singing, too. Not like the gal who imitates 19 different singers in one song - cause if I could, I'd totally be looking for a way to parlay that into a European tour of some kind. Ply me with alcohol sometime and ask for Barbara Streisand. Or don't. I'm not sure that demonstration would win us any friends.
Kind of like how writing a story that lifts copy from someone else, or strangling inspiration to the point that readers can ID what inspired you (unless you're writing really skillful parody) won't win friends. It sure influences people, though. In that 'you're going down in infamy' kind of way.