Writer’s Block #2: Unjustified Fear

Tycho and Rosie’s fear is getting a bath.

The reasons people get writers block generally all do with fear. Fear of rejection, Fear of Failure, Fear of success. Fear of the dark.

My biggest fear is that my writing or artwork is “derivative” or worse, I will accidentally plagiarize someone. Maybe I’ve watched Secret Window too many times. Anyway when I think about it…let’s just say since I know why many authors drink.

Now just to point out how crazy, my fear actually is, let’s look at all of this logically.

According to Miriam Webster Dictionary: “Plagiarism is to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”

Phew! So it sounds like “accidentally plagiarizing” someone is impossible, since plagiarizing is stealing.

Alright so let’s look at the idea my work is “derivative”
Miriam Webster defines the noun derivative “as something that is obtained from, grows out of, or results from an earlier or more fundamental state or condition”

As for the work being derivative: well, duh, everything derives from something. We don’t live in vacuums. Also there is also genre specific attributes to any story.

Let me give everyone an example: I was skipping along my merry way after the release of Other Systems. Working on the Martlet, working on Other Systems Luna and Faminelands #3 when Suddenly I saw it–something that knocked me for a loop.

In one chapter of Other Systems, Abby and Pat are exploring a planet orbiting a red giant. Now there is a theory that Earth-type photosynthesis probably won’t work on a  planet orbiting a red giant. In fact, we might not be able to see any green due to the red light. So anyway I was thinking cool maybe they have some sort of living petrified tree. So I did a little research and wrote about petrified trees. Abby refers to them as crystal trees.

Then as I said, one day Dennis started re-watching TNG and I saw the Crystalline Entity. Yes, I realize its supposed to resemble a snowflake, but all I could see at that moment was it looks like tree branches. So I started slamming my head on the table. (Not literally of course.)

Okay so I am telling all this to Maria who points out this children’s story that she is pretty sure we both read where a girl goes into a land of Crystal or possibly Diamond Trees.

If I had been afraid to go through this gate, I would have missed one of the most beautiful and interesting gardens in all of IrelanD!

For me the problem is once I feel my work is “derivative” suddenly ALL my work is derivative and I never have had an original idea once. Afterall I didn’t come up with roverbots, spaceships, or planets orbiting a red giant. I didn’t come up with man-eating sirens or elves or demons or… fill in the blank with any story I wrote.

Once again logically, I do realize that is like saying “I didn’t invent people with problems to solve!”

So my idea might be “derivative”: regardless what I did with it was original. I was placing these trees on a planet. (No they were not trying to kill people) they were just the predominate life form that existed after the planet’s sun went red giant. They were found around pools of salt water and in decaying buildings. They were feeding off the saline while the white crabs nibbled at their roots.

So as the world can see, I am crazy, but if I can get over my big fear, you can too!

What fear stops you from writing?

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Denise DeSio on August 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    I didn’t realize you were this wacky! My fear is that I’m never going to be through moving into our new smaller house. Fitting all our stuff in here is like playing Tetris, and you know how that game always ends.


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