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10

There is nothing new under the sun, my friend. If you read TV Tropes you might be forgiven for thinking that all plots are like all other plots. However it is not the plots (there are considered to be only seven or so actual plots anyway) but the characterisations, details, names etc that make your world unique to you. If you are worried that you have by ...


6

Elves and dwarves are all over fantasy fiction. Here's one compilation found by Googling "fantasy novels with elves". They are generic mythological creatures. If anything these tropes are overused; Tolkien used them well so his works are the benchmarks against which others are often measured, but he didn't invent them. The question in your title is a ...


5

If your work is visible to the public, you cannot prevent plagiarism. You could reduce the likelihood of plagiarism by posting your work on a site that is protected by a password (and perhaps a user agreement). But this also reduces availability. You can perhaps increase your chances of detecting plagiarism by setting up a Google alert for one or more ...


5

If they're on the Internet, someone has a copy of them. They are free now, and you will never have full control of them again. I won't swear to it, but I think when EL James got her book contract for the Fifty Shades trilogy, she deleted all the posted versions of those stories (which were after all Twilight fanfic). I seem to recall that older versions ...


4

Work with reputable proofreaders and designers, who have proven track records with satisfied clients. Anybody with a reputation to maintain will have no profit from plagiarizing clients' work. First of all, a manuscript on its own isn't worth a whole lot (it takes a lot of work to earn good money off a manuscript), and secondly, they'll stop getting ...


4

Excellent question. The boundaries between different forms of derivative work are constantly being pushed and redefined. "Derivative" has come to be used mostly as an insult, but as you rightly point out, some works of fiction (I would argue 'most works') draw inspiration from preexisting sources. In a way, storytelling is an ongoing cultural endeavour. ...


3

On my last university course the department insisted everything was submitted to a system called "TurnItIn" (http://turnitin.com/en_us/home) but there are loads of others. TurnItIn gave a load of different metrics for direct copies of other material, rephrasing and the like. Only problem I found was it often got confused with citations and references.


2

Almost never. Royalties apply to copyright, and copyright only applies to the literal text of the material. Anything you learn, you can use, so long as you don't use word-for-word quotations without attribution. Let's say you are writing a book about Lincoln and you read Team Of Rivals (the source material for the recent Daniel Day Lewis movie Lincoln). ...


2

Your best bet is to break down the source into broad mythical elements and rebuild your story from that. Harry's tale is both a coming-of-age and a Hero's Journey, and you don't get much more archetypal than those. JKRowling admits she modeled Harry-Ron-Ginny after Luke-Han-Leia, and Lucas was working with Joseph Campbell's Hero With a Thousand Faces. (An ...


2

Copying ideas is not plagiarism. Copying execution is. Further, some phrases are so common they couldn't possibly be considered plagiarism. The idea of being unable to quite recall something is not unique. It's a little bit like me using the phrase, "it's a little bit like." I'm sure if you did a google search of the phrase, "I could never quite recall" ...


2

In addition to "Work with reputable proofreaders and designers," as Standback correctly notes, you can also add a non-disclosure agreement to your contract. The language might state that the contents/cover/etc. of the book is to remain strictly confidential until official publication by X publishing house or Y printer. Honestly, I don't think this is ...


2

I constantly read books and watch movies that are totally unlike anything that I have ever read or seen before. There is an unlimited wealth of stories that have never been told. If your story is like "all other" alien invasion stories, then that is because you have seen or read those other stories, learned their underlying schema, and now have applied it ...


1

It is not clear from your question if you intend to publish your book with an established publisher or in an independent way. In scientific fields, proofreading is typically done, at least partly, by colleagues who know the subject. Here confidentiality is commonly guaranteed by trust. Then there is the publisher's editor. Here confidentiality is guaranteed ...


1

Copying discrete details, outside of parody, is plagiarism and is often protected under copyright laws. Think of it this way. Copying large ideas is okay. Copying the actual details or implementation of those larger ideas is violating someone's rights. Writing a story about a boy who goes to wizardry school is okay. Writing a story about a boy with round ...


1

At my college they use this software to determine the authenticity of a thesis when submitted.



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