Hi! Callie Lynn here. First I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhain!
I'd like to talk about something I've come across quite a lot recently in Black Rose submissions. I believe that for the most part this is done unintentionally and not in anyway meant to copy another author's work, but it may be construed as plagiarism or at the very least a copyright issue. So with that said, let me move on to the point.
I have noticed several story submissions on my own desk recently that have mirrored other works dangerously.
With a lot of emphasis and I might add a good amount of very good books, movies, and shows out there in the last several years on the subject of vamps and shifters, I notice more and more submissions are coming in with all too familiar themes, storylines, and even down to character and setting. While watching everything you, as an author, can in the genre you enjoy writing in the name of research, which by the way I do myself, we must keep in mind that NEVER and I do mean NEVER are we able to adopt any piece of that original work for our own. Nor may we borrow characters from those works. Characters are part of copyrighted creative works and may not be used unless express permission is given by said creator.
For instance, I have recently delved into several older vamp series which many have perhaps forgotten about and noticed similarities on some of the mythology of the creatures who we adore. "Moonlight" depicts Nick St. John as a PI gumshoe-type vamp who sleeps in a freezer and is able to move around in daylight as long as it is overcast much like those in "Twilight." "Blood Ties" goes the opposite direction with the human, Vickie Nelson, a police detective turned PI due a progressive eye disease and who partners with 450 year old vamp, Henry, a descendant of royalty who sniff out nothing but otherworldly evil-doings. These are great stories and unique in their own way. But though some of the finer points may mirror other stories you can not borrow the obvious.
Things such a daywalking, no heartbeat or pulse, changing to counterpart animal on the full moon or whenever the mood urges you is fine. No reflection or having a reflection, all fine. Needing to feed every day or once in awhile due to age, again fine. The thing is to beware of having a group of teens or adults who live in Forks that are vamps. That is Twilight to millions of people and especially Stephanie Myers who owns rights to her story and her characters.
More recently the infamous "True Blood" has give us even more unique twist to vampirism, as well, wolf/shape shifters, demons and so much more. We eat all these shows up as well the many authors such as Laurell K. Hamilton, J. R. Ward, Anne Rice, Christine Feehan, and so many others who have created such lustfully attractive monsters with hearts and hot bods. But as writers, we need to figure out a way to create unique storylines and different themes with a risk that no one has thought up yet. How do we do that while our minds are wrapped around the awesome books, TV series, or movies we have rolling around in our heads? Well, my friends, there in lies the question. Only you can answer through your own means of filtering out what's already been done.
The moral of this post is to be aware of what you write. Be careful not to weave a wonderful tale that comes too close to something that has already been done and by all means, NEVER borrow characters from other's work. You do not want to find somewhere down the line that you have stepped on someone toes or copyright.
Callie Lynn Wolfe
Senior Managing Editor
Black Rose Imprint
The Wild Rose Press