Many people think of creativity as highly individual. They don’t think you can be very creative if you borrow ideas, or take what someone else has done and turn it into so much more. I’m not talking about plagiarism, or idea theft. I am talking about using other things as a base idea, then stretching it, bending it, and molding it into something new that you can call your own.
It would be good to think of an idea as a tree. We didn’t create the tree; it was already there. We cut the tree down; start cutting chunks off until we see the basic shape we’re looking for. After we get the main look, we use finer tools, sandpaper, and eventually stain and polyurethane until you have a well-made canoe.
Being on Youtube, I like to read comments that deal with another person’s creativity. In one particular instance there was a comment regarding Amy MacDonald’s song “This is the Life”. According to the comment, she had stolen the music portion of the song from Los Ketchup, and their song “Asereje”. After hearing both songs together, there are definitely similarities. Of course the question here is if she stole the music; the answer is no. Amy used the same music style, with the same basic beat, but the entire song is uniquely hers.
Does this mean anything is fair game? Of course not; there are billions of people in the world, and each person has a creative mode of communication. The chances of similarities are almost guaranteed, but when entire pieces are copied, word for word, this is when you run into problems of plagiarism.
In Germany, a young girl entered a novel writing contest with a novel she “Wrote”. Later, it turned out she had copied the entire novel from various sources. She lost the publishing contract, but the contest judges had ruled that her novel was still eligible to win the 20,000 dollar grand prize. While the contest judges didn’t take the situation seriously, everyone else did. Copy write violations are very serious, and they rob other writers of the reputation the earned by hard work and originality.
The point of this is, don’t be afraid to borrow an idea or two to fuel your own creativity; but don’t stoop to idea theft to skip a few steps in the quest for popularity. Give others their creative due, they earned it.