Creativity Means Stealing

You “fake it until you make it”

I’m reading a book called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It was written originally for physical artists (painters, sculptors, etc.) but it also applies to us writers.

The idea: to develop our unique voices in our writing, create freshness? How we do that:

When we start, we copy the work of others.

I (and Mr. Kleon) don’t mean to redo what was created word for word. That’s plagiarism. Instead, you copy the styles of people you like, then develop your own from there.

An example is author Spider Robinson. He began copying Robert Heinlein. So much that he’s viewed as the literary descendant of Heinlein. His own writing is different, his style very different from RAH.

To use myself as an example: my first game writing return, one of my adventures used Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the other the concept of The Dirty Dozen. One of my projects was influenced by the Suicide Squad of the 80s, but is still very different.

My current work is influenced by several different things I’ve read, but has a different voice.

So far my only complaint with the book: it advocates creation by hand. I physically can’t do that.

For obvious reasons I ignore that part.

Steal away!

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