The WritePractice: Why You Should Copy Other Writers

by Michael Strickland

800px-ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare may have been the most successful copier, writes Joe Bunting on the writepractice website.  “His style was heavily influenced by Ovid, the 1st century BC Roman poet.” He also “borrowed” significantly for the plots of his plays, author Joe Bunting says.

He copied from history (the lives of Henry V, Richard III) and from ancient Roman playwrights (Comedy of Errors is based on a play by Plautus). There was even a book written thirty years before Romeo and Juliet called The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet. Yes, that was spelled with two L’s.

Here are some other tidbits from this great article:

Writers steal, borrow, and copy. It may be ugly … but it’s true. No masterpiece is completely original. As you find your voice, feel free to steal and imitate from other writers.

However, here are three rules to follow if you do:

1. “Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research,” said John Milton.

If you are going to imitate, don’t imitate just one author. Imitate several. The odd combination of them all will give your style its own flare.

Read the full story here: Why You Should Copy Other Writers.

PHOTO CREDIT: By It may be by a painter called John Taylor who was an important member of the Painter-Stainers’ Company.[1] – Official gallery link, Public Domain. WikiCommons.

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