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Old 08-10-2018, 01:17 PM   #26
SimonDoom
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Originally Posted by KindofHere View Post
The question was: whether you'd be offended or flattered. Copyright or whether it's right isn't a part of my question. I wasn't discussing that. Some people would be offended, some flattered, some wouldn't care. I've read threads where people say that they've inspired others to write, but what would you think if you read their work and they may as well have been quoting you? It's a 'what if' question, not a debate nor a reason to start one.

Here's Stephen King's quote on that (which was one of the reasons I thought of this question).

You may find yourself adopting a style you find particularly exciting, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When I read Ray Bradbury as a kid, I wrote like Ray Bradbury—everything green and wondrous and seen through a lens smeared with the grease of nostalgia. When I read James M. Cain, everything I wrote came out clipped and stripped and hardboiled. When I read Lovecraft, my prose became luxurious and Byzantine. I wrote stories in my teenage years where all these styles merged, creating a kind of hilarious stew. This sort of stylistic blending is a necessary part of developing one’s own style, but it doesn’t occur in a vacuum. You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so.
I like that quote. That describes my approach, in a way. I read and enjoy a wide variety of authors with different styles, and I pick things from them, cafeteria-style, that I'd like to see in my own prose. I'm not sure what the result is, and I'm not sure I'd recognize it in somebody else's writing if they tried to copy me.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:17 PM   #27
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:27 PM   #28
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It's a curiosity question. Isn't that one of the reasons the forum is around?
Yes, and to turn discussions into arguments, as you are trying to do.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:32 PM   #29
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:42 PM   #30
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Yes, and to turn discussions into arguments, as you are trying to do.
Oh, for Pete's sake. No, he's not. You are reading into his comments, and his original post, the most uncharitable interpretation possible. You can do better than that.

The original question is a legitimate and interesting question. One ought to be able to ask it, and follow up on it, without being accused of having an excessive concern about the thoughts of others (why even bother participating in any forum if that's a worry?), or of picking a fight. KindofHere doesn't come across as someone spoiling to pick fights with people here.

I had the feeling he was genuinely interested in getting an elaboration from you on your comment, and I'm sure it's discouraging to receive in reply a snippy comment accusing him of bad motives. Plus, of course, that godawful shit-eating-grin emoji that you so enjoy appending to your comments.

Have a nice day.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:43 PM   #31
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This is an interesting observation about Holmes, but a key to his motivation is that it has nothing to do with money. Status is a bit different; it's made clear that Holmes doesn't care about status in the usual sense, but he is vain, and he enjoys his reputation as the smartest detective. But his monk-like devotion to the craft of deduction is what makes him interesting and what drives him.
But Holmes could have pursued many other occupations and still have been able to pursue his love of deduction. Conan Doyle repeatedly said that Holmes was inspired by the real-life figure of Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, whom Conan Doyle met in 1877 and had worked for as a clerk. Being a doctor or surgeon would have provided much more status and probably a better income.

How did Holmes get started in solving cases that required great deductive skill? How did the police come to involve him in their cases? How did Holmes pay the rent in those early days? Once Holmes is a famous detective, I can see why he'd continue in that position, but there's no realistic path I see to becoming a famous detective.

The closest thing to a real-life Sherlock Holmes to me is Sir Isaac Newton.
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Newton moved to London to take up the post of warden of the Royal Mint in 1696, a position that he had obtained through the patronage of Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, then Chancellor of the Exchequer. He took charge of England's great recoining, somewhat treading on the toes of Lord Lucas, Governor of the Tower (and securing the job of deputy comptroller of the temporary Chester branch for Edmond Halley). Newton became perhaps the best-known Master of the Mint upon the death of Thomas Neale in 1699, a position Newton held for the last 30 years of his life. These appointments were intended as sinecures, but Newton took them seriously, retiring from his Cambridge duties in 1701, and exercising his power to reform the currency and punish clippers and counterfeiters.

As Warden, and afterwards Master, of the Royal Mint, Newton estimated that 20 percent of the coins taken in during the Great Recoinage of 1696 were counterfeit. Counterfeiting was high treason, punishable by the felon being hanged, drawn and quartered. Despite this, convicting even the most flagrant criminals could be extremely difficult. However, Newton proved equal to the task.

Disguised as a habitué of bars and taverns, he gathered much of that evidence himself. For all the barriers placed to prosecution, and separating the branches of government, English law still had ancient and formidable customs of authority. Newton had himself made a justice of the peace in all the home counties—there is a draft of a letter regarding this matter stuck into Newton's personal first edition of his Philosophić Naturalis Principia Mathematica which he must have been amending at the time. Then he conducted more than 100 cross-examinations of witnesses, informers, and suspects between June 1698 and Christmas 1699. Newton successfully prosecuted 28 coiners.
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Old 08-10-2018, 01:54 PM   #32
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But Holmes could have pursued many other occupations and still have been able to pursue his love of deduction. Conan Doyle repeatedly said that Holmes was inspired by the real-life figure of Joseph Bell, a surgeon at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, whom Conan Doyle met in 1877 and had worked for as a clerk. Being a doctor or surgeon would have provided much more status and probably a better income.

How did Holmes get started in solving cases that required great deductive skill? How did the police come to involve him in their cases? How did Holmes pay the rent in those early days? Once Holmes is a famous detective, I can see why he'd continue in that position, but there's no realistic path I see to becoming a famous detective.

The closest thing to a real-life Sherlock Holmes to me is Sir Isaac Newton.
A question, I suppose, is this: would the stories have been better if this backstory had been provided? I get what you're saying, and you are right that Holmes is a somewhat fantastical character, but I'm not sure adding lots of backstory to explain how he came to be would have made the stories better. As it is, the reader has many questions about Holmes that the reader must fill in. In the context of these stories, that might not be a bad thing. Explaining Holmes might diminish him.

I think Conan Doyle's intent was to make Holmes a singular figure who was not motivated the way other people are motivated (other than by vanity, which is a weakness). He doesn't care about money or sex or status the way most people do, and that's part of the interest in the character. The singularity of his character, and of his motivation, is a big part of his enduring popularity.

Regardless, your original point is a really good one: that if your characters are just sex-crazed and don't show any concern for the things that motivate real people, including things like money, status, reputation, they'll come across as cartoons.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:57 PM   #33
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And I wondered, how would I feel if I noticed someone borrowing my style. Rhythm of speech, punctuation, description of sex scenes that were too similar to mine, use of words I haven't seen other people use, whatever. Would I be flattered or annoyed? This could be by older authors or new, anyone.

I'm not sure how'd I'd feel. It would be arrogant to assume people would steal my style, but IF they did, how would I feel? How would you feel? (I'm not talking plots, I've written things similar to stories I never knew existed) but style wise, would you be flattered or not?

Some of you longer termed writers might have noticed this about your own stories, any thoughts?
First of all, I wonder if I have really developed a style of my own, and then, of course, it follows that I wonder if I would recognize it as 'my own' if someone else would use it too.

I write the stories I want to read, and with some minor exceptions, I do like most of my stories - if someone would do the same, I would probably like to read those stories too - it would be convenient, I guess...

But, let's pretend that it is really the case... I can haughty and say that I wouldn't mind, that I would be flattered, but...

I guess it would probably hurt more than just a little bit, if someone gets, lets say, E.L. James' fame and sales-numbers when using my style, while my stories even struggle to get a red 'H'...
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Old 08-11-2018, 12:04 PM   #34
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Oh, for Pete's sake. No, he's not. You are reading into his comments, and his original post, the most uncharitable interpretation possible. You can do better than that.
I responded to the original question. No one knows how they will react to such a thing until it happens. I can go further than that. I seriously doubt that there's a unique style that "belongs" to anyone asking this question at this stage of the history of writing. One doesn't hold a deed on their "style" and it's highly unlikely they are the first ones with the style, so it doesn't belong to them anyway. So, someone getting hot and bothered over thinking someone else is using "their" style is somewhere off the charts.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:27 PM   #35
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:51 PM   #36
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Here's a page on Author quotes about style:

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-st...riting-1692855
Thanks for the link.

Seems to me there's a consensus there that style's the thing, ideas don't matter so much, and it's the person behind the writing that shines through.

This got me thinking one step further - part of my style (those who have read my work probably would agree that I write material that is recognisably EB) is that my male characters are pretty much me writing me (either snippets of truth under the veneer of my protagonists, or fantasy conjured into the words) - which seems to support those that say you can find the person behind the words, if there is a recognisable style.

How many others do that - make their material recognisably "theirs," by writing themselves into it?

Or putting it another way, who is comfortable enough in themselves to do that? I'd almost go so far as to argue that those who are comfortable with themselves, are comfortable (and natural and recognisable) in their style, and it shows. From this, it's pretty clear that I'm of the school of thought that says, "show me the style, and find the person behind it."
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