Do any of you remember the animated series that ran in the late 1960s to early 1970s called Jonny Quest? I loved that show for what are now unknown reasons.
I’m not sure how old I was or what grade I was in, but one of my homework assignments was to write an original short story. My short story was an episode from Jonny Quest and therefore NOT original. When my paper was returned to me with a coveted “A”, I was pretty chuffed. Somehow one of my classmates ended up reading my story (not sure if we exchanged stories or if we were suppose to read them aloud in front of the class) and he ridiculed me afterwards on how I had stolen the story from a cartoon.
My humiliation was intense as not only had a peer caught me cheating, but he knew I watched cartoons! I was too old for cartoons! It didn’t occur to me until days later that obviously my classmate had watched the same cartoon.
I read something today that due to the circumstances and the familiarity of the story, I was reminded of my juvenile indiscretion but I will say nothing. While I don’t necessarily doubt the event happening, I found part of the story almost too similar to an event that happened in a popular movie I had seen recently.
Is it cheating? Is it plagiarism? To take something you’ve seen that may (or may not) be fiction and use it to your advantage? Maybe not even to an advantage, but just a way to add dimension to what could have been a relatively flat story? I don’t think you can easily and patently answer yes. I don’t think anyone’s life is ever really perfectly unique. I especially don’t think that any thought or idea I have had was ever truly and 100 percent mine. It was molded and formed and developed under the ideas of anything and everything I have ever seen or heard; something that may have been seen or heard by one person or one hundred thousand persons.
I don’t know why I’m sharing this with you. I guess that’s what a blog is for, isn’t it? And if you didn’t hear it from me, you’d hear it from someone else. Maybe you already have.