I made a post on my personal blog and it really should have gone to Writers Inc
My plan is to help writers and aspiring writers on hive.blog (Newsflash! If you're an aspiring writer who is writing, you're a Writer - true story).
One of the biggest worries for writers is plagiarism (if it's not a worry for you, give it a while and think about it). It's a worry because plagiarism is also known as Copyright Infringement and comes with a hefty price-tag if you're guilty and caught. It can also be a worry for writers because their work could be copied and passed-off as someone else's work.
Don't worry about that if you're at the stage of querying a publisher - their reputation couldn't stand a scandal like that - they won't steal your work.
On the other hand, you cannot copyright an idea - that's NOT possible. For example, if you read a story and it inspires you to write your own, the only things you have to worry about is whether or not your characters, storylines, plots and situations are too similar.
The best example I can think of off the top of my head is the Twilight series and the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Did you know one started off as a fan-fic of the other?
The reason it was possible for Fifty Shades to get published is because the author changed enough of the main components of the story to avoid copyright infringement.
Immortal Vampire Protagonist - Billionaire Protagonist
Unsure and innocent teenage 'victim' Protagonist - Unsure and innocent early twenties 'victim' Protagonist
You get my gist?
That is not to say you're allowed to copy someone's novel - it's frowned upon even after the novel in question goes out of copyright (70 years after the death of the author in case you were wondering). But you ARE allowed to take inspiration from EVERYTHING you experience.
I've had a story bubbling around in my head since I chose the picture for this challenge and I know where it came from. It was originally a story in a magazine I used to read - Misty - back in the 70s.
The story was in picture form - storyboard - and it obviously stuck with me.
Here's my version.
Not only did Theresa have the misfortune to be nick-named 'Terry', a boy's name if ever there was one, she also had the distinct disadvantage of being slight of build - "shapeless" Kat said.
“Ignore Kat,” mum said. “She’s going through a phase.”
Easier said than done.
Terry experimented with the spelling of her name but no matter how she tried, her family called her Theresa only in formal (rare) situations and friends knew her as Terry – no matter whether she spelled it ‘Terri’, ‘Terrie’ or ‘Pteri”.
‘Terry the Tiddler’ Grandad called her from the moment he clapped eyes on her and he was the only one she could accept it from because she knew it was said with deep affection. Kat, on the other hand, called her ‘Smelli Terry’ – a direct jibe and mockery of Terry’s attempts to ‘own’ her name. Kat wrote the insult on Terry’s books and the inside of her school bag so Terry’s friends could see it when she took out her books.
“No you can’t join in, you’re too small, you’re a disadvantage to every team that takes you,” Kat said.
Therein lay the problem. Kat was the popular girl at school and Terry wasn’t.
When Kat let slip the nickname her granddad used for her little sister, ‘Terry the Tiddler’ suddenly became the bane of Terry’s life.
Pretty soon, the name turned into the thing to be shouted across the playgrounds in the area. At school, at home and farther afield. Wherever Terry went, the nickname found her.
Terry decided to run away.
Twelve years old, running away from home, such a dangerous and foolish thing.
The first night wasn’t so bad. On the outskirts of the village, a barn with a hayloft provided a warm bed. The rats in the hay and straw rustled about but kept out of her way, mostly. The next morning, hungry, tired and dishevelled, busting for a pee, the farmer caught hold of her coat collar and ragged her about a bit.
“What are you doing in my barn, you little bleeder?” he growled.
Terry looked up at the angry face and almost let go of the contents of her bladder. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t doing anything wrong…” she muttered, almost in tears.
“Trespassing on my property? I’ve a good mind to call the police and tell them I’ve shot a trespasser damaging my livestock,” he said, shaking Terry almost off her feet. “What’s your name, lad?”
“My name?” Terry said, trying to get her brain into gear. “Terr… Theresa.”
The farmer dropped Terry’s coat and her with it. “A girl, bloody hell!” he said. “I suppose you’ve run away from home?”
Terry looked up at the farmer’s face. He still looked grumpy, but the fury had left his expression. She nodded. “I need a job,” she said, squaring her shoulders.
He laughed, caught off-guard by her sudden decisiveness. “You want a job here? You’re a bit too small. We’ve got all the knock-kneed newborns we need,” he said. “Go on, gerroff home, your mum is going to be worried sick!”
Terry’s hopes of running away to become a success were dashed at the mention of her mum and she realised how much worry she’d caused.
When she turned the corner onto the street, her heart plummeted into her stomach. Police cars stood outside her house – three of them. ‘Oh boy,’ she thought. ‘I’m for it now!’
A police officer came out of the neighbour’s house and Terry frowned, wondering why he’d been visiting them rather than interviewing her family.
The police officer caught sight of Terry and spoke into his radio. “I’ve got one of the kids here,” he said. He jogged up the neighbour’s path toward Terry. “Where do you live, son?” he said.
“She lives here,” Terry’s mum said from the front door. “Where have you been? Where’s Kat?”
Terry ran across the front lawn into her mother’s arms. “I ran away, Mum,” she muttered into her mum’s stomach. “Kat and her friends…” she couldn’t finish the accusation of bullying because she started sobbing.
“What happened to Kat and the other kids? Where are they?” the police officer said, trying to pull Terry from her mother’s grasp.
“I don’t…” Terry said, looking up at the officer, tears streaking the grime on her face. “What do you mean?”
“Someone came and took all the kids off the street last night,” Mum said. “Where have you been?”
“They probably threw her back, she’s just a tiddler…” Grandad said.
The story I read when I was a kid had a kite-flying scenario. Everyone that had a kite was whipped upwards into the sky like so many fish from a pond. An alien spacecraft took them in. They were going to experiment on the ‘fish’.
The main character – the one I dubbed ‘Terry the Tiddler’ was thrown back for being too small – hence the inspiration for my story.