In how far should I feel justified robbing other artists?

My NaNoWriMo project is going well. I’m a little above the suggested progress no the NaNo site; I’m averaging about 2000 words per day. Last night, I went over 11000 words. Which makes this officially the longest story I’ve written so far.

I am immensely enjoying the writing process, and I am honestly not about to hit any walls anytime soon. Or, you know, that’s what it feels like. I can find the zone pretty easily. Here’s something surprising I found in the zone; I am crystal clear on my ideas. I know how they fit in with the characters, how they fit in to the story, how I would prefer them to come across. But also exactly where they came from and what influenced them.

Or in other words, what sort of fiction I stole them from.

While I’m writing things down, In the back of my mind the source material is playing. For the last bit I did, it was one novel, one short story, two movie scenes and a television show, all combining to create the scene I wanted.

I’ve now twice build up tension, only to have it turn out to be something silly. I’m hoping it comes across humorous. Maybe not full out laughs… You know when you hear or read something amusing and you blow your breath out of your nose a little harder than normal? Yeah, I’m hoping to give my readers that sort of reaction. Leave them wondering if there’s really something creepy going on, or if it’s all in the protagonist’s overly stressed mind. I’m pretty sure this sort of silly diffusion of tension is borrowing heavily in feel from old Lucas Arts adventure games.

I’m feeling good about it so far, since everything I write clearly has multiple sources I am pulling from, I feel comfortable saying I’m “inspired by”, and not “ripping off”.

I do wonder where that line is. How many sources can I dwindle down to, before I feel it’s no longer my own original mix of themes and events? Two? Three? Could I let myself be inspired by one single source, and still feel like it’s mine? And would it matter if that source is written word or not?

I honestly do not know the answers to those questions yet. I bet I am going to find out this month though.

Writer of fiction, blogs and erotica. Frequency in that order. Popularity in reverse.

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