Tuesday, 23 February 2010

So someone is suing Ms. Rowling for a billion dollars (or some other ridiculous amount) again because they think, 'The Goblet of Fire' rips off some unknown book from the 1990s. That and a line in my current WIP made me wonder if we'll see more of these claims now that so many writers are blogging excerpts from their WIPs - obviously, I don't mean the wonderful people who visit my blog because we're all sane. Well most of us are and those who aren't, well you know who you are. Okay, must stop looking at myself in the mirror, anyway...

I read a line on an LJ blog a week or so ago and I thought, 'not bad' and a few people commented on this person's rather cool line/idea. Cue a few days later, while redrafting Grim Glass Vein, I read a similar line (not the same words but running along the same theme) in the second draft. Now, I am the sort of person who worries about things that most (rational) people would ignore. So, I went into a spin as to whether I should remove this line - after all, it's one sentence - but it is kind of pivotal to the story line and it's good and well, I came by it honestly about three to six months (the previous draft was composed sometime between Aug 09 and Nov 09) before reading this other person's line. The crux is though, prove it...

And thus, I worry.


*The wardens shouldn't unlock my cell door and let my thoughts escape, but I pay them very well.
**Thank goodness I'll never make squillions and no one will ever want to sue me. Oops, shouldn't really tempt the gods, my bad.

12 comments:

Josh Reynolds said...

Is squillions even a unit of measurement? Is it like merculions? Bajillions? Bazinga?

What is a bajillion anyway? Is it two billion? Four squillion? Nine bazingas and an apple?

If I have eight squillion dollars, do I have more or less money than JK Rowling?

Cate Gardner said...

No one has more money than Ms. Rowling, not even the Queen.

Aaron Polson said...

Nothing to worry about. If any court finds in favor of someone complaining about a similar line or two in a story/novel...I'll quit writing. Entire pages, chapters...

That's a problem.

Cate Gardner said...

Is it any wonder I drive my family insane? :D

Jamie Eyberg said...

yeah, I am going to agree with Aaron here. I had a lit professor go through and theorized (and he did a pretty good job of it) that every book written is actually taken, in part, from Shakespeare. I guess we are all in trouble.

K.Hinny said...

I would worry and worry about the subject line as well Cate. You are not alone!

Not sure what I would do in the situation because as a writer, we have to read and reading spawns creativity... which spawns more ideas, but if we worry about every little thing that is similar in our books compared to others then we're probably just screwed.

And I'm rambling. I'm going to cut myself off here bc I do that and get carried away.

But this was a good post, made me think and I like that. :D

Good luck with your second draft!
Hinny

Andrea Allison said...

I agree with commenters before me. Wouldn't be as worried about similarities between sentences as I would with pages/chapters.

As for Ms. Rowling, I think there will always be at least one person who wants a taste of the fame and fortune she has acquired with the willingness to do whatever it takes to get it.

katey said...

What Aaron said. People are so obsessed with the idea that they're special snowflakes, it's ridiculous. Particularly countries with an Anglo colonial background, we're all raised on the same books for the most part. TWO books where wizards have a SCHOOL and everyday life has MAGIC in it? Gee golly. Unthinkable.

And you'd think after the last time someone tried to sue Rowling this crap would over with. Good god.

I always get a laugh when people say "No, don't blog excerpts! It's stupid!"

Yes, because my ideas are so awesome that everyone is going to steal them. You know what, if they're that desperate, and they write it that much better than I can-- they're welcome to 'em. I deserve it.

Cate Gardner said...

Jamie, Oh I always steal from Shakespeare - he has the best lines. ;)

Hinny, good to know someone is as nuts as me. Not that we're nuts, well, maybe just a tad. :D

Thanks, Andrea.

Katey, thank goodness all snowflakes eventually melt.

Natalie L. Sin said...

I wouldn't stress. One line is a coincidence: odds wise, it's bound to happen among writers.

Robert said...

Cate, I hate to say it, but I've noticed some of the words you just used in your blog post are words that I have also used in my blog post. You will be hearing from my lawyer!

Cate Gardner said...

Natalie, in my sane moment, I know you're right.

Robert, I only steal from the best and I'm prepared to say that in court. :/