Joshy Sensei
Joshy Sensei asked Josh Lanyon:

Have you ever read or heard of works that are, to say the the least, too inspired by yours? How do you feel about it?

Josh Lanyon I think it's a relatively small genre and I think my books have been, er, influential. So yes I've had books and authors pointed out to me by readers -- and I've read a few things on my own that seemed maybe a bit too familiar.

But the thing is...that's kind of how creativity works.

One kind of creative impulse is to take something that you love so much you want to sort of make your own--it's similar to the impulse that spurs fan fiction. OR you feel someone has a great idea, but you feel you could do better so you appropriate it, make it your own, do it the way (you believe) it should be done.

And then finally we have the conscious and deliberate decision to take something popular and write our own version--which, frankly, is what a lot of writing books will tell you to do.

How do I feel about it? Well...in all honesty I don't think I've ever created anything absolutely unique and original. I love traditional and tried-and-true mystery tropes and romance dynamics. So what am I going to complain about? HOW DARE YOU SET A GHOST STORY IN A SOUTHERN MANSION? HOW DARE YOU WRITE ABOUT A GAY AMATEUR SLEUTH STUMBLING OVER BODIES EVERY FIVE MINUTES? HOW DARE YOU WRITE ABOUT LEO PARTNERS WHO BECOME LOVERS? HOW DARE YOU WRITE ABOUT A CLOSETED COP AND A MORE SENSITIVE PERSON ENGAGED IN A MORE WHITE COLLAR AND CREATIVE OCCUPATION? ;-D

What makes my stories "unique" is my voice, my insights into my fellow humans--and the particular personal spin I put on a story. I think those are the things that readers ultimately return to me for--and I'm relatively confident those things aren't easily copied.


(I should add here that I'm not talking out and out plagiarism--I've had that too, and that's a different thing altogether. Not so amusing.)

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