Ideas I stole from Steal Like An Artist without even realising it
My favourite stolen books
Neil Gaiman wrote The Graveyard Book, inspired by The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling.
Lev Grossman, writer of The Magicians, says
I wanted to write The Once and Future King and it had already been written, so I sort of went off and did something different, but I was trying to do the same thing.
Piers Torday wrote The Lost Magician as an homage to the The Narnia Chronicles by C. S. Lewis.
Steal Like An Artist
All of these are explicit examples of stealing like an artist, where the author has acknowledged the influence.
I just reread Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Kleon Austin and realised that I had been stealing from this book without even realising it!
How to Steal Ideas for a Novel
I’m working on a ‘how to write a novel’ course that lays out how to use two books that you love to write your novel.
I only realised when looking for quotes that I have actually taken ideas from Steal Like An Artist and reused them to that purpose.
Start with what you love to read
The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like. Write the kind of story you like best — write the story you want to read. The same principle applies to your life and your career: Whenever you’re at a loss for what move to make next, just ask yourself, “What would make a better story?”
The starting point for my course is to choose two books that you have loved reading that you can use as guidebooks in writing the book you want to read.
The idea is to create your bookbaby from your two parent guidebooks.
This genetic idea of art is there in Steal Like An Artist:
A good example is genetics. You have a mother and you have a father. You possess features from both of them, but the sum of you is bigger than their parts. You’re a remix of your mom and dad and all of your ancestors.
True originality is dead
Nothing you produce can ever said to be truly original. You can’t avoid being influenced by everything you have ever read or seen.
This is intensely liberating.
If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.
Secret Sauce Course
I’m writing a course on how to take two novels you love and then use them to write the novel you want to read.
I stole a lot of the ideas for this from Steal Like An Artist, without even realising it!
I’m going to give away the first part of this course for free. As Kleon Austin says in his book:
People love it when you give your secrets away, and sometimes, if you’re smart about it, they’ll reward you by buying the things you’re selling.
If you want the free course when it’s ready, subscribe to my newsletter here.
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