How sharper than a serpent’s tooth…


Wait. Slow down a second. Did this post really just begin with a nod to one of history’s greatest play writes? Do the illustrious words of King Lear really belong on the landing page of a blog based primarily around depression and my own artistic shortcomings? To quote an artist as prolific as the great William Shakespeare on this page seems to almost degrade the celebrated writer. But nevertheless for lack of a better title I thought that King Lear’s acid tongued dialogue directed at his thankless daughters seemed somewhat appropriate for where we currently find ourselves.

So why does Shakespeare’s delicately constructed dialect resonate so strongly with my own writing right now? Well… I think that I’ve been plagiarised. I think that someone has taken my works laden with my own flourishes and imperfections and tried to reproduce them and label the knockoffs as their own. I know that it sounds rather arrogant to assume that a writer would want to take what I have created and re-brand it as their own creative masterpieces, but sometimes shit just doesn’t add up and one can only wonder just how another aspiring author can suddenly produce a blog entry so similar to my own. The idea of plagiarism like this is a rather intriguing concept, and one that forces a writer to seriously contemplate the ramifications of such a dastardly deed.

If I have indeed been plagiarised then I certainly wouldn’t be the first author to ever have this happen, and I’m pretty damn sure that I won’t be the last. J.K. Rowling must have inspired plenty of Harry Potter knockoffs; and Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code would have undoubtedly sent writer’s desires to produce historical thrillers into overdrive. But what am I to make of this potential copycat? Am I supposed to feel jaded like King Lear? Am I to feel as though I have been betrayed by a thankless child? Or would a better title for this post have been the finest form of flattery?

Because there really is no finer form of flattery than to have a fellow writer attempt to reproduce your work. If a writer has actively gone out of their way to indulge themselves in the stylistic nuances that make your own pieces unique, then surely that means you are doing something right? Doesn’t it?

The article in question arrived in my emails a few days ago. I follow quite a few blogs and my Iphone is always pinging with arrival of another author’s works. But with this particular page I seem to have developed a bit of an unspoken mutual agreement with the aspiring author who produced it; it’s nothing too complicated. He follows my blog and I follow his. We have never met, never spoken, and in all honesty we never will. But we have found each other in the immense cosmos of online web logging through our mutual love of writing and desire to find acclaim.

This young writer is good. His pieces have always been fetching and unique. But our writing styles have always been inherently different. -Which would probably explain why his audience is roughly 50 times the size of my own- But recently he released a piece that was rather unexpected, unprecedented, and so unlike anything he had ever produced. Suddenly I found myself reading a post that had me seriously questioning whether or not I had been given a guest editors spot on another blog. I am fully aware that I still sound incredibly childish here. How arrogant it is for me to assume that anyone would wish to rip off the deranged fragments of thought that clutter the homepage of this site! But what if I’m right? What if I am King Lear and I’m being unwillingly usurped by an author who wishes to claim my workings as his own?

The truth is that I’ll never know for sure whether my writing has been reproduced. All I can base my theories off is the feeling in the pit of my stomach as I read an (unusually) sloppy post that sounded striking similar to my own story. And the strange look of my partner as she came to the same realisation and asked if I had indeed been the catalyst behind the unexpected entry. But I guess that is the world we live in. So often in life we are overlooked or outshone at something that makes us truly unique. It can be easy to take what you do for granted and to never find the recognition you deserve for your talents. It can be easy to give up and never push that little bit harder in order to be noticed. Yet feel defeated when a lessor opponent finds notoriety for doing so.

The young man who reads my wares and (possibly) feels the need to reinterpret them and label them as his own truly is the thankless child that King Lear spoke of. He has taken my ideas and idiocies and claimed them as his own. But rather than feel anger towards him I can’t help but feel like there’s a lesson to be learned here. I now firmly believe that when our talents are laid out and compared, I am the stronger writer; however I do need to apply myself a little more to this whole social media thing and establishing (and maintaining relationships with) an audience. And while it does sting to see someone else finding fame through pieces that are questionable in nature, there really is no finer form of flattery than to have someone try to reproduce what I create on the walls of this very blog.

Author: Chris Nicholas

Chris Nicholas is an author from Brisbane, Australia. He has published two novels, and is currently working on his third.

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