Stolen "Ideas"

Neil Gaiman talks a lot about ideas in the linked post.

I chuckled a little when I read it.

Back in late 1990, early 1991, I write a story about a dragon that played chess. The “voice” I heard in my head for that dragon was Sean Connery.

In 1996, “Dragonheart” came out with, you guessed it, Connery doing the voice of the dragon.

Do I squawk that my “idea was stolen”.

No. The first reason being that the likelihood that anyone connected with Hollywood in any way read that short story in the appropriate time frame is slim to none. (I don’t know when development on the film started, but I’d bet it was before ’94 and I didn’t have it on the Internet then).

The second reason is the entire concept of an “idea” being stolen is mostly whiny hogwash. You can plagiarize, but stealing an idea is harder than you think.

I say this as someone who has seen sites put up that follow formats of sites I’ve written. I say this as someone who has seen her own turn of phrase used to convey concepts in alternative lifestyle communities. I could scream “stealing” or “copying”, but that would be dumb. No-one in the world can steal how I write an article without actual plagiarism.

The reality is that writers are unique. It’s not that we’re telling stories, it’s how we tell them. There’s no such thing as a truly original plot. The very best stories are not popular because their plots or their characters are particularly original. It’s that they’re told in an engaging way. It’s that what the author has to say and how she says it strikes a chord.

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