Katie spotted another author's book that, as she puts it, was just Star Wars set in Middle-earth. That filled her with some righteous indignation, along with the envy writers often feel when someone is more successful. Call it plagiarism or call it a crossover fanfic, but that book was no real novel in her eyes. So she wrote her own fan-fiction ... of that book. Not because she liked it but as a reversal of it, to show what happens when you explicitly use someone else's characters and world but come up with a plot that's your own.
Then she liked the result so much that she nixed the connections to the old book and made it an original work, like a not-terrible version of the origin of that best-selling carpet catalog Fifty Shades Of Grey. Later still, at a convention, she found herself talking about the book to an audience ... and to her right, talking after her, was the writer of that other book. He turned out to be a nice guy.
A $aint, really.
And if some guy did stick Obi-Wan and Tolkien into his book and readers know that but like it anyway, so what? Star Wars and Lord Of The Rings might have been some of the most influential works of the last century, but that doesn't make them original, and you can easily trace where they got their ideas. Imitating the greats is how you learn, whether you're writing a book or practicing the guitar. Everyone ultimately wants to make something groundbreaking, but on the way there, you might have an easier time of it if you bulk yourself up with the shoulder pads of giants.
Despite the quirks, Jack loves his job (and his agent, who keeps it profitable). Follow him on Twitter. Katie "K.J." Taylor is now busy churning out new books with ludicrous speed (her record is a 100,000-plus-word manuscript in four days). Her official website is KJTaylor.com, and she can also be found on Facebook and Twitter, despite years of vowing never to appear on either. Ryan Menezes is on Twitter as well, where he writes nothing of lasting significance.
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