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Morwen Edhelwen
01-17-2012, 05:50 PM
What are people's opinions on plot homages? Could someone outline the difference between plot homage and plagiarism? I mean I think plot homages are valid. What does everyone else think?

eqb
01-17-2012, 06:41 PM
I wrote a plot homage once. I used the basic setup and main events from Tiptree's The Women Men Don't See, but I set the story in Edwardian England, not the 1970s, the narrator changed from a confident man to a failed graduate student, and the mother/daughter characters became a pair of scientific sisters. It's not the same story, but the homage is pretty clear.

Plagiarism would be if I had taken Tiptree's story and changed little more than a few names, or some of the dialog.

quicklime
01-17-2012, 06:44 PM
i assume by homage you mean more "inspired by" as opposed to "a crass ripoff of," which I assume you are thinking of when you say plagiarism.

that said, I think it is a tightrope.....the line for plagiarism is a bit hazy, but fairly distinct. the line between "homage" or "inspired by" and "derivative" or "strip-mined from" or similar epithets is much more hazy. A lot there depends on how well you do the work. Write a very compelling, touching story of forbidden love and warring families in Africa and you get a "great love tragedy". Write a shitty one, and you get "A cheap Ugandan Romeo and Juliet ripoff."

So the question is, if you're gonna "borrow" someone else's work, how close to them, how unique will you be, and how well can you do it? because the closer to the original, the better your story has to be to make sure the comparison doesn't hurt your work.

Tirjasdyn
01-17-2012, 07:04 PM
What are people's opinions on plot homages? Could someone outline the difference between plot homage and plagiarism? I mean I think plot homages are valid. What does everyone else think?

A plot homage is when you use a similar plot to one you love and put your own twist on it.

Plagerism is when you lift a story wholesale, word for word copy.

The Lonely One
01-17-2012, 07:58 PM
Pretty sure there are a really limited number of plots when you boil it down (so I've heard). I doubt anyone would notice if your characters and situations are unique.

Phaeal
01-17-2012, 09:34 PM
An homage should be so obvious an homage that it doesn't look like a clumsily disguised theft. The best one I can think of is in Preston and Child's Brimstone, in which they lifted the character of Count Fosco whole and kicking from Wilkie Collins' Woman in White.

And if the reader still didn't get it, they made the "lift" explicit in an after-note. :D

Drachen Jager
01-17-2012, 10:25 PM
I think the main trick with that sort of writing is to own the material. You can use it, sure. Legally it's no problem, but writing it in such a way that it's not seen as derivative is the trick. You need to put a great spin on it. Find new ways of telling the story and make it unique and original if you're looking to publish.

Flicka
01-17-2012, 10:40 PM
An homage should be so obvious an homage that it doesn't look like a clumsily disguised theft. The best one I can think of is in Preston and Child's Brimstone, in which they lifted the character of Count Fosco whole and kicking from Wilkie Collins' Woman in White.

And if the reader still didn't get it, they made the "lift" explicit in an after-note. :D

Since I'm in the Monte Christo frame of mind, I think of Stephen Fry's The Stars' Tennis Balls, which was The Count of Monte Christo down to every detail (with a twist, like renaming Mercedes Portia), quite consciously. However, Dumas' work is out of copyright which might make it easier.

Al Stevens
01-17-2012, 10:47 PM
The Clint Eastwood movie, Pale Rider, is based directly on Shane. I guess you could call it an homage.

Drachen Jager
01-17-2012, 11:33 PM
Fistful of Dollars is nearly a shot-for-shot theft of Yojimbo, but I guess Americans kind of ignored foreign copyright in those days. For that matter, Star Wars is a plot-theft of The Hidden Fortress. Examples are plentiful.

Susan Littlefield
01-18-2012, 12:43 AM
Plagerism is when you lift a story wholesale, word for word copy.

i am not sure if you are talking about parts of a story or just the whole thing. Plagiarism can be the lifting one sentence, one paragraph, maybe even a few words. It often is not the whole story, and sometimes is portions of several stories put into one novel.

Susan Littlefield
01-18-2012, 12:45 AM
We are all inspired by other's stories. Like ideas, aren't there just enough to where we recycle plots and ideas all the time anyway?

shaldna
01-18-2012, 01:17 AM
What are people's opinions on plot homages?

I'm a Terry Pratchett fan, so I love them when done well. What I especially love are all the little bits that it's hard to get, for instance, today I finally got a little plot point from The Fifth Elephant that was linked to a Chekhov play (later redone by Brian Friel - so how's that for plot homage?) (Uncle Vanya)




Could someone outline the difference between plot homage and plagiarism? I mean I think plot homages are valid. What does everyone else think?


Plagiarism is when you use someone else's words as your own. It's also when you use someone else's specific treatment as your own. That is to say, I could write a vampire novel about sparkly vampires and that's fine. But if I wrote a novel about sparkly vampires who live on teh Olympic Peninsula, are all adopted and have human girlfriends who happen to be the police chiefs daughter then I might have a problem.

UNLESSSSSSSS

I was writing a parody, in which case the rules are a little different.

Monkey
01-18-2012, 02:50 AM
My latest was inspired by a novel called Nightclimber.

Nightclimber was written in first person, in a man's POV, set back in the sixties/seventies, which was contemporary at the time. The main character climbed buildings.
Mine's in third, from a woman's POV. The setting is contemporary. The main character does parkour...which includes a lot of climbing buildings.

What really struck me about Nightclimber was three things:
1) it really went into the mindset behind buildering, which is very similar to that of parkour
2) the scene that was ostensibly the climax--the bit that the main character had been working up to, training for and dreading the whole time--was almost beside the point by the time he got there (bigger climaxes followed)
and
3) the big treasure he was after didn't matter to him, personally, once he got there. By then, he'd realized bigger goals.

I was especially fascinated by the fact that the reader never found out what the treasure was. The story was first person, and the MC didn't care.

So in my story, we get into the mindset behind parkour. The big jump she has to make is the first of three climaxes--the second two being far more emotionally important. The item my main character is sent to steal means nothing to her--to the point where she ends up shooting through part of it in the last scene.

I guess my book could be called an homage...but the differences are pretty extreme, and I'm certain there is not a sentence, name, or location in common between the two books.

kuwisdelu
01-18-2012, 02:58 AM
Ideas for stories are a dime a dozen. Steal as many as you like. Just make it your own when you actually write it.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-18-2012, 02:59 AM
I asked this because I've seen a number of usages of the Red Harvest plot. The whole "a stranger comes to a town and starts to pit rival factions against each other." And also because I'm working on something that could be described as Evita meets Blade Runner.

kuwisdelu
01-18-2012, 03:04 AM
I asked this because I've seen a number of usages of the Red Harvest plot. The whole "a stranger comes to a town and starts to pit rival factions against each other." And also because I'm working on something that could be described as Evita meets Blade Runner.

That story's gotta have been around as long as there have been communities with rival factions within traveling distance of strangers.

Nexus
01-18-2012, 03:05 AM
Well, a recent story of mine is inspired by "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr.

When I wrote it, I considered it in the same vein as an homage.

Turns out to be entirely different. Rather than some shapeshifting, spreading monster, my story ends up being about contagious radiation.

So it won't automatically make it alike, but some of the aspects of the story may appear similar when the comment of their comparison is made.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-18-2012, 03:07 AM
That story's gotta have been around as long as there have been communities with rival factions within traveling distance of strangers.

probably... but I haven't found any other examples.

Eternal
01-18-2012, 03:09 AM
As mentioned, i suspect it is very difficult to write a completely original plot line. The only question is, has a book with a similar plot line been succesful enough for anyone to notice.

I would guess that most books could be attributed as a homage to several other books at a level that would be believable, even if the author had never read said books.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-18-2012, 03:13 AM
As mentioned, i suspect it is very difficult to write a completely original plot line. The only question is, has a book with a similar plot line been succesful enough for anyone to notice.

I would guess that most books could be attributed as a homage to several other books at a level that would be believable, even if the author had never read said books.
I'm confused, wouldn't a homage have to imply that the person doing it has to have read or watched what they're homaging?

The Lonely One
01-18-2012, 03:16 AM
Well, a recent story of mine is inspired by "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell, Jr.

When I wrote it, I considered it in the same vein as an homage.

Turns out to be entirely different. Rather than some shapeshifting, spreading monster, my story ends up being about contagious radiation.

So it won't automatically make it alike, but some of the aspects of the story may appear similar when the comment of their comparison is made.

Isn't that the story that inspired The Thing?

Liked all versions of The Thing, including the recent one at the first camp. Sounds like a cool story.

To me, The Island was Logan's Run meets Shirley Jackson's "Lottery." You see a lot of rehashed plots these days.

If you did do an homage plot, it might have been taken by the person you're borrowing from, and probably was in some capacity.

kuwisdelu
01-18-2012, 03:22 AM
probably... but I haven't found any other examples.

Here's a few (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PlayingBothSides), though not all involve strangers arriving in town.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-18-2012, 03:24 AM
I love that site! When I can't think I spend time on there!

Eternal
01-18-2012, 03:27 AM
I'm confused, wouldn't a homage have to imply that the person doing it has to have read or watched what they're homaging?

Misunderstanding. I was suggesting that a book written by an author with no other books in mind, no homage etc, could more than likely be passed as a believable homage to some other book, due to the sheer volume of books and plots out there. Writing a completely original plotline that would be commercially acceptable and get published is probably quite rare.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-18-2012, 03:30 AM
Misunderstanding. I was suggesting that a book written by an author with no other books in mind, no homage etc, could more than likely be passed as a believable homage to some other book, due to the sheer volume of books and plots out there. Writing a completely original plotline that would be commercially acceptable and get published is probably quite rare.

Oh. Thanks for the clarification.

Friendly Frog
01-20-2012, 02:48 AM
An homage should be so obvious an homage that it doesn't look like a clumsily disguised theft. The best one I can think of is in Preston and Child's Brimstone, in which they lifted the character of Count Fosco whole and kicking from Wilkie Collins' Woman in White.

And if the reader still didn't get it, they made the "lift" explicit in an after-note. :DI was thinking of exactly the same book when I saw this thread.

They mentioned the 'lift' even in the forword, at least in the translation I read. At the time I found it rather cheap and a bit lazy. Why not come up with your own villain? But when I read Woman in White later, I realised I didn't mind their lifting of Fosco as much as the character himself. And I have to admit they did a pretty good job at it, writing an established character that you didn't create isn't all that easy after all.

Nostro
01-20-2012, 03:08 PM
Writing a book is as much a conversation with all the other books that have been written as it is a conversation with the reader. An example that comes to mind is Joseph Conrad's Under Western Eyes which is a direct response to Dosteovesky's Crime and Punishment.

If you look deep enough you'll find conscious and unconscious homages to older books/ media in almost every book. Unless of course the author hasn't read any books. But that never happens does it...

A good example of conscious homages would be the Simpsons. Many of their older tree house of horror shorts are homages to older movies and books. One of my favourite episodes is Cape Feare, a direct homage to... yep, Cape Fear.

I think the difference between plagiarism and homage lies in the execution, if you acknowledge the homage (subtly or not) it's homage. If you take efforts to hide the source material, it's verging on plagiarism.

My current WIP is peppered with hints (character names, labyrinthine symbols, libraries, etc.) to a Jorge Luis Borges short story. I copied aspects of his ending in the climax of my main plot line. My allusions make it clear it's an homage. If I just wanted to steal his idea, I'd do my best to hide the origin of the idea.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-20-2012, 03:30 PM
Writing a book is as much a conversation with all the other books that have been written as it is a conversation with the reader. An example that comes to mind is Joseph Conrad's Under Western Eyes which is a direct response to Dosteovesky's Crime and Punishment.

If you look deep enough you'll find conscious and unconscious homages to older books/ media in almost every book. Unless of course the author hasn't read any books. But that never happens does it...

A good example of conscious homages would be the Simpsons. Many of their older tree house of horror shorts are homages to older movies and books. One of my favourite episodes is Cape Feare, a direct homage to... yep, Cape Fear.

I think the difference between plagiarism and homage lies in the execution, if you acknowledge the homage (subtly or not) it's homage. If you take efforts to hide the source material, it's verging on plagiarism.

My current WIP is peppered with hints (character names, labyrinthine symbols, libraries, etc.) to a Jorge Luis Borges short story. I copied aspects of his ending in the climax of my main plot line. My allusions make it clear it's an homage. If I just wanted to steal his idea, I'd do my best to hide the origin of the idea.

So is this a homage? The plot of one of my WIPs(The Lady's Got Potential): A dieselpunk story involving a caudillo (military strongman) in Honduras who's married to a woman from a very poor background who used to be an actress in Mexico and a teen prostitute, and they (especially this woman) have this cult of personality among the poorer people, especially in the cities and rural areas, which is manipulated by the officers in the military dictatorship. She also used to be her husband's mistress as a teenager and wants to loosen some of a superpower's hold on her country's main export. Oh, and the protagonist is her servant who considers becoming a revolutionary.

With changes to setting, time period, characterisation, backstory and slight changes to plot, this is the plot of Lloyd Webber's musical Evita. The title is from a song rewritten for the movie adaptation.

Morwen Edhelwen
01-21-2012, 11:14 AM
bump

Nostro
01-22-2012, 01:05 AM
So is this a homage? The plot of one of my WIPs(The Lady's Got Potential): A dieselpunk story involving a caudillo (military strongman) in Honduras who's married to a woman from a very poor background who used to be an actress in Mexico and a teen prostitute, and they (especially this woman) have this cult of personality among the poorer people, especially in the cities and rural areas, which is manipulated by the officers in the military dictatorship. She also used to be her husband's mistress as a teenager and wants to loosen some of a superpower's hold on her country's main export. Oh, and the protagonist is her servant who considers becoming a revolutionary.

With changes to setting, time period, characterisation, backstory and slight changes to plot, this is the plot of Lloyd Webber's musical Evita. The title is from a song rewritten for the movie adaptation.


I'm not familiar with Evita, but it sounds like an homage since you use a song associated with it i.e you're letting the readers know it isn't a completely original idea. By using the song as the title, you're doing this but there need to be similar hints where fans of Evita will read and go "ahhh". It doesn't matter if they go over the head of people like me who are totally ignorant of Evita.

The most important thing is to make the plot your own. The best thing to do is study an homage you know of and note the differences between the original and the later. The later work will (should) have enough differences to be a work in its own right. That's my two cents anyway

Morwen Edhelwen
01-22-2012, 01:47 AM
thanks, nostro!

Morwen Edhelwen
01-22-2012, 03:26 AM
I'm not familiar with Evita, but it sounds like an homage since you use a song associated with it i.e you're letting the readers know it isn't a completely original idea. By using the song as the title, you're doing this but there need to be similar hints where fans of Evita will read and go "ahhh". It doesn't matter if they go over the head of people like me who are totally ignorant of Evita.

The most important thing is to make the plot your own. The best thing to do is study an homage you know of and note the differences between the original and the later. The later work will (should) have enough differences to be a work in its own right. That's my two cents anyway

Actually, my homage has Eva become pregnant as a teenager. She was childless in real life and in the musical.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-22-2012, 04:54 AM
Has anyone writing homages been told that "what you've written is too similar?"

HoneyBadger
02-22-2012, 05:20 AM
The trick is finding the middle ground between:
a plague kills most everyone and the survivors have adventures
and
a plague kills most everyone and the survivors, summoned by opposing moral forces, have adventures and fight a war
and
The Stand

Now, if you mean you wrote a legal thriller about a chesty redheaded paralegal, but is otherwise nothing like Erin Brockovich and the plot has nothing to do with cancer or environmental law, you're probably fine. But if you paid homage to Jurassic Park by writing Jurassic Park in your own words with new character names? That's a problem.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-22-2012, 05:32 AM
The trick is finding the middle ground between:
a plague kills most everyone and the survivors have adventures
and
a plague kills most everyone and the survivors, summoned by opposing moral forces, have adventures and fight a war
and
The Stand

Now, if you mean you wrote a legal thriller about a chesty redheaded paralegal, but is otherwise nothing like Erin Brockovich and the plot has nothing to do with cancer or environmental law, you're probably fine. But if you paid homage to Jurassic Park by writing Jurassic Park in your own words with new character names? That's a problem.

I'm writing a dieselpunk YA thriller with a subplot involving the attempts of a radio and movie actress and singer with a peasant background named Eva to get herself and her husband and her family into political power in Honduras and diminish American imperialism and the power of the oligarchy. The narrator and protagonist is called Che and is her kitchen servant. He slowly grows opposed to the new regime because of what they're (well, Eva's husband's) doing. The plot's about Che and his attempt to decide whether to help get them into power or not, which involves him thinking out his beliefs about their ideology.

rugcat
02-22-2012, 05:35 AM
Here's an old post of mine about a famous plagiarized novel:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=885433&postcount=59

Morwen Edhelwen
02-22-2012, 05:48 AM
So, are you saying that a homage should be similar enough to be recognisable and different enough to be its own work, unlike the mystery book you mentioned? Does the plot I'm working on (described above) count as a homage, without being a rip-off? I definitely think so. To quote the following post from another thread on this topic http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=211734:
Originally Posted by AdamR85
A homage takes the starting point and heads down a similar but different trail. A rip-off is trying to be the story it is ripping off.


Now, if I was just ripping off Evita, Eva wouldn't have children in my story, and it wouldn't be dieselpunk. It would also focus more on her and her ambition than Che and his dilemma. The dieselpunk aspect is very important.

rugcat
02-22-2012, 06:03 AM
So, are you saying that a homage should be similar enough to be recognisable and different enough to be its own work, unlike the mystery book you mentioned? Does the plot I'm working on (described above) count as a homage? I definitely think so.Yes, the problem with the book I mentioned involved an excact duplicate of a complex plot. Plus, many details -- Macdonald's character kept important documents in a hidden safe, the plagiarized novel's MC did the same thing, and the descriptions of the two safes were almost identical. And this went on through hundreds of details.

The real problem is that an homage is likely to be seen not so much as an homage as merely an appropriation of ideas by someone who can't think of something of their own, esp if one is a debut writer.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-22-2012, 06:10 AM
Yes, the problem with the book I mentioned involved an excact duplicate of a complex plot. Plus, many details -- Macdonald's character kept important documents in a hidden safe, the plagiarized novel's MC did the same thing, and the descriptions of the two safes were almost identical. And this went on through hundreds of details.

The real problem is that an homage is likely to be seen not so much as an homage as merely an appropriation of ideas by someone who can't think of something of their own, esp if one is a debut writer.

Rugcat, are you replying to both my questions? So does that mean you should put in a note saying what you've done? As in 'this book is a homage to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical Evita" or something like that? Especially since a few people refer to Eva as a "whore" once her involvement in politics becomes more serious.

ETA: I can't believe someone didn't catch the fact that book was an exact copy. Another ETA: Was that "Yes" an answer to the question about the mystery book, or about my plot?

HoneyBadger
02-22-2012, 08:16 AM
Well, let's put it this way.

Loads of people write Sherlock Holmes books. He's public domain, so it's a legitimate enterprise. Direct Sherlock, loose homages (House MD, for example), etc. I personally have muddy (and thrilling!) plans for a Sherlock MG book, but I want to be published first. A Sherlock Holmes riff is not something to start a career on.

Very few of us are filled with the tears of the muse to the point where our very first published work can be a blatant rip on an existing work of anything.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-22-2012, 08:37 AM
Well, let's put it this way.

Loads of people write Sherlock Holmes books. He's public domain, so it's a legitimate enterprise. Direct Sherlock, loose homages (House MD, for example), etc. I personally have muddy (and thrilling!) plans for a Sherlock MG book, but I want to be published first. A Sherlock Holmes riff is not something to start a career on.

Very few of us are filled with the tears of the muse to the point where our very first published work can be a blatant rip on an existing work of anything.

I don't think what I'm doing is a blatant rip-off of Evita. I think a blatant rip-off is when you take something and barely change anything. I'm not doing that. ETA: Unless you meant a "blatant riff"

HoneyBadger
02-22-2012, 08:46 AM
If you're confident in it, awesome!

If you even suspect that it'll be seen as fanfiction, trunk it. Yeah, there's a LOT of terrible fanfic, but there's some pretty great stuff, too. It's not marketable, though, because the world, characters, and general plot don't belong to the fanfic writer, but to the original author.

An homage should be evocative. The reader should just get the general feel of the original, not ever think, "Uh, hey, isn't this just Evita with a baby?" Now, if you had a poor, street-smart Eva who loved to sing, but the story was entirely her own? Perfect.

Alternatively, go back to basics and write a historical novel about the actual Evita. A novelization of a musical about a famous person is unlikely to catch an agent or publisher, dieselpunk or no.

And with that, I'm off to google "dieselpunk." Good luck!

rugcat
02-22-2012, 08:49 AM
Rugcat, are you replying to both my questions? So does that mean you should put in a note saying what you've done? As in 'this book is a homage to Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's musical Evita" or something like that? Especially since a few people refer to Eva as a "whore" once her involvement in politics becomes more serious.

ETA: I can't believe someone didn't catch the fact that book was an exact copy. Another ETA: Was that "Yes" an answer to the question about the mystery book, or about my plot?I just don't think it's a good idea to base a book on an existing work, honestly, whether you identify it as an homage or not.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-22-2012, 08:51 AM
If you're confident in it, awesome!

If you even suspect that it'll be seen as fanfiction, trunk it. Yeah, there's a LOT of terrible fanfic, but there's some pretty great stuff, too. It's not marketable, though, because the world, characters, and general plot don't belong to the fanfic writer, but to the original author.

An homage should be evocative. The reader should just get the general feel of the original, not ever think, "Uh, hey, isn't this just Evita with a baby?" Now, if you had a poor, street-smart Eva who loved to sing, but the story was entirely her own? Perfect.

Alternatively, go back to basics and write a historical novel about the actual Evita. A novelization of a musical about a famous person is unlikely to catch an agent or publisher, dieselpunk or no.

And with that, I'm off to google "dieselpunk." Good luck!
thanks. Well, I suppose making untraceable radio broadcasts and becoming the voice of the resistance would be a twist

Morwen Edhelwen
02-22-2012, 09:22 AM
I just don't think it's a good idea to base a book on an existing work, honestly, whether you identify it as an homage or not.

Even if you're established? (I'm not, but..)

And even if the piece is loosely based? http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DieselPunk and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk_derivatives#Dieselpunk. That's basically what I'm doing.

cara
02-22-2012, 12:36 PM
I think, so long as you ask permission, then it would be fine. It's nice to have homage in there, because your readers will appreciate it (if your book's similar in genre/style).

Morwen Edhelwen
02-23-2012, 12:50 AM
thanks, everyone who replied. I might be wrong- but don't you only have to ask permission when you are using copyrighted material? (ie song lyrics)

IceCreamEmpress
02-23-2012, 01:00 AM
I don't know who you'd ask permission of, anyway. Eva Peron and Che Guevara are historical persons, though I suppose a case could be made that the whole "Che Guevara comments on Eva Peron's political career" theme comes from the book of the musical Evita, since they never met in real life.

Honestly, I think that naming your characters Eva and Che is unnecessarily confusing and doesn't add anything to your story, since your story isn't about the historical people in any way, given a) the change of location, and b) the complete change of circumstances re: Guevara, who in real life never met Peron, was a doctor from a wealthy family, etc., etc.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-23-2012, 01:09 AM
I don't know who you'd ask permission of, anyway. Eva Peron and Che Guevara are historical persons, though I suppose a case could be made that the whole "Che Guevara comments on Eva Peron's political career" theme comes from the book of the musical Evita, since they never met in real life.

Honestly, I think that naming your characters Eva and Che is unnecessarily confusing and doesn't add anything to your story, since your story isn't about the historical people in any way, given a) the change of location, and b) the complete change of circumstances re: Guevara, who in real life never met Peron, was a doctor from a wealthy family, etc., etc.

Yeah, but Tim Rice made barely any reference to Che's real circumstances in the musical. The only one I can think of is the Waltz for Eva and Che, with that "somewhere unstable" line. (Unless you count the Harold Prince staging, where lines were added, or the original concept album, where he was developing an insecticide- but that reference is obscure.) ETA: Hope this doesn't sound defensive, but- there's nothing that says you can't highly fictionalise a historical figure.

thebloodfiend
02-23-2012, 01:40 AM
Honestly, I think that naming your characters Eva and Che is unnecessarily confusing and doesn't add anything to your story, since your story isn't about the historical people in any way, given a) the change of location, and b) the complete change of circumstances re: Guevara, who in real life never met Peron, was a doctor from a wealthy family, etc., etc.

I agree. I mean, if you were doing a "what if" as in:

What if Hillary Rodham married George W. Bush instead of Bill Clinton, I could see a justified excuse for making up an alt history. If your characters have no resemblance to the originals, what's the point? It's like -- what if Kurt Cobain never hit it big in music and decided to become a cashier who ended up involved in politics? It's kind of like, what's the point? Nirvana and Courtney Love were Kurt Cobain. You take away the context and you have a different character. You're only using their name to attract attention. If I wanted to call the MC in my latest novel JD Salinger and his love interest Octavia Butler, I could, but why would I if there's only a very loose (or non existent) connection between them?

Theo81
02-23-2012, 01:58 AM
No. Your idea is different enough to be an individual book. If you wished to mention Evita in conjunction with your MS, I think it would only be a brief reference in the acknowledgements.

Florence and Giles by John Harding is could be classed as an homage to The Turn of the Screw. A Jealous Ghost by A.N. Wilson *is* one. (Also, F&G is only 99p for Kindle on Amazon UK. Bargain. It's a great book!)

You are not writing an homage.

From your descriptions, your novel bears increasing little resemblence to Evita, or if it does, it is your interpretation of it (which is questionable). Che (who, as I have mentioned, is only identified as Guavara by some stage directors, not the score) isn't even a character, he is the Narrator, the Greek Chorus. Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_chorus The reason there's no reference to Che's background is because he is a Device, not a character in the conventional sense.


Write your novel about YOUR CHARACTER EVA and YOUR CHARACTER CHE (who, as IcecreamEmpress says, are rather pointlessly named).

Write the novel, then see what you've got.

The second draft is the place to iron out every single question you've asked. You'll be amazed how many solve themselves once you come to get them down on paper.

Also, don't use the lyrics in your work unless absolutely necessary. You have to pay to use them and it's expensive.

Why are you clinging so tightly to the idea of your MS being Evita? What is it that's stopping you from leaping out on your own and doing your own thing?

Morwen Edhelwen
02-23-2012, 06:12 AM
No. Your idea is different enough to be an individual book. If you wished to mention Evita in conjunction with your MS, I think it would only be a brief reference in the acknowledgements.

Florence and Giles by John Harding is could be classed as an homage to The Turn of the Screw. A Jealous Ghost by A.N. Wilson *is* one. (Also, F&G is only 99p for Kindle on Amazon UK. Bargain. It's a great book!)

You are not writing an homage.

From your descriptions, your novel bears increasing little resemblence to Evita, or if it does, it is your interpretation of it (which is questionable). Che (who, as I have mentioned, is only identified as Guavara by some stage directors, not the score) isn't even a character, he is the Narrator, the Greek Chorus. Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_chorus The reason there's no reference to Che's background is because he is a Device, not a character in the conventional sense.


Write your novel about YOUR CHARACTER EVA and YOUR CHARACTER CHE (who, as IcecreamEmpress says, are rather pointlessly named).

Write the novel, then see what you've got.

The second draft is the place to iron out every single question you've asked. You'll be amazed how many solve themselves once you come to get them down on paper.

Also, don't use the lyrics in your work unless absolutely necessary. You have to pay to use them and it's expensive.

Why are you clinging so tightly to the idea of your MS being Evita? What is it that's stopping you from leaping out on your own and doing your own thing?

The fact is "Che" in TLGP becomes a Communist, goes off to Cuba and helps out Fidel Castro in starting up the Cuban Revolution. If I have a character who becomes a revolutionary leader in the Cuban Revolution, (and this guy eventually does) why not call him Che, even Che Guevara? And I'm confused- how does an actress who sleeps her way up to the top and marries the military officer she used to be mistress to and gains a lot of popularity among the people not resemble Evita? Because Eva is an actress in soap operas, who was born illegitimate.
Maybe I ought to make it closer to Evita...


ETA: because I want to write a homage to Evita. They do have resemblance to the original historical figures. Che helps start up the Cuban Revolution, has asthma, becomes a Communist. Eva is born out of wedlock and used to be a peasant girl and an actress. She seduced men to get ahead. Is it just Che's background that makes it sound different? Because I want it to be as similar as possible, without being actual copyright infringement.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-23-2012, 06:34 AM
ETA: To clarify: The only things different about Che and Eva in TLGP are their nationality and the fact that Che works for Eva. Their historical role is the same. Che goes off to Cuba to overthrow Batista and get Fidel into power. Eva's an actress from a poor background who becomes regarded as a saint by the people.
The whole story is "What if Che's path to becoming a revolutionary was different? What if he knew Eva?" These characters basically ARE historical Che and Eva, just in a different country and with a different relationship, so why not call them that?

bearilou
02-23-2012, 04:52 PM
Morwen, I read your questions in the hopes that eventually you're asking questions that apply more broadly to writing than to your specific book.

This one, however, does bring to mind something that just struck me.

Are you looking for a reason to justify that you're writing an AU fanfiction? Because, in all honestly, that's how this discussion is striking me.

Theo81
02-24-2012, 12:07 AM
The fact is "Che" in TLGP becomes a Communist, goes off to Cuba and helps out Fidel Castro in starting up the Cuban Revolution. If I have a character who becomes a revolutionary leader in the Cuban Revolution, (and this guy eventually does) why not call him Che, even Che Guevara? And I'm confused- how does an actress who sleeps her way up to the top and marries the military officer she used to be mistress to and gains a lot of popularity among the people not resemble Evita? Because Eva is an actress in soap operas, who was born illegitimate.
Maybe I ought to make it closer to Evita...

For the same reasons that a dark-haired vegetarian man from a Catholic background can refer to either Paul McCartney or Adolf Hitler.

You could have an FMC with that background, but if she is a tad stupid and wants nothing more than to take an interest in soft furnishings the second she has a ring on her finger, you do not have Evita.




ETA: because I want to write a homage to Evita. They do have resemblance to the original historical figures. Che helps start up the Cuban Revolution, has asthma, becomes a Communist. Eva is born out of wedlock and used to be a peasant girl and an actress. She seduced men to get ahead. Is it just Che's background that makes it sound different? Because I want it to be as similar as possible, without being actual copyright infringement.

If you want to be as similar as possible but not make it up, I suggest you write about Eva Peron, the historical personage. You are unlikely to to be able to publish something requiring the permission of the composer. There's a sticky around here outlining what you need to know about fictionalising historical peoples.
To be honest, I wouldn't call them that because they aren't those people. A boy who's grown up as a scullery boy isn't going to be the revolutionary the doctor's son is (principles are for those who can afford them. Eva wasn't there for the good of the people, in Real Life or Evita, they were her path to success, just like the army officers).

As Berilou points out, it's sounds like you are looking for permission to write fan-fic.

If you weren't aware, self-bans are available to those who lack the cast iron will to keep away from the board but need/want to get on with writing. I know you want to write your book, but if you're finding us a distraction, you may find it useful to request a few weeks off grid so you are enforced to do that "Just sit down and write the book and see how it turns out" thing we keep suggesting.

I forget how you do it, I'm afraid...mods?

Morwen Edhelwen
02-24-2012, 12:54 AM
If you want to be as similar as possible but not make it up, I suggest you write about Eva Peron, the historical personage. You are unlikely to to be able to publish something requiring the permission of the composer. There's a sticky around here outlining what you need to know about fictionalising historical peoples.
To be honest, I wouldn't call them that because they aren't those people. A boy who's grown up as a scullery boy isn't going to be the revolutionary the doctor's son is (principles are for those who can afford them. Eva wasn't there for the good of the people, in Real Life or Evita, they were her path to success, just like the army officers).

As Berilou points out, it's sounds like you are looking for permission to write fan-fic.

If you weren't aware, self-bans are available to those who lack the cast iron will to keep away from the board but need/want to get on with writing. I know you want to write your book, but if you're finding us a distraction, you may find it useful to request a few weeks off grid so you are enforced to do that "Just sit down and write the book and see how it turns out" thing we keep suggesting.

I forget how you do it, I'm afraid...mods?
Eva does, however want success. So she does have an ulterior motive. Also, Tim Rice said in this article: http://www.timeandleisure.co.uk/articles/interviews/396-tim-rice-on-evita.html that the device character of Che is based on Guevara. What is the difference between homage and a fanfic?

Richard White
02-24-2012, 01:24 AM
An homage is basing a story on a theme (say the pirate movies of the 30's and 40's). I have studied a number of them and I am attempting to do a story that when read will make a reader feel like they could be watching one of those movies. I am not slavishing copying anything from them, although I am picking out pieces that seem common to them all (the swinging on ropes between ships, the captain's duel, divying up the treasure, etc.) I'm also basing my pirate story on a LOT of research on real pirates and ships of that era, but the goal is to make it feel like a pirate movie when all is said and done because I love watching them.

A fanfic is taking another authors characters and putting them into your own universe, or inserting your story into someone else's universe (almost always without permission). Some fanfic authors try to stay true to the original canon, some fanfic authors only appropriate the names and stick them on completely new characters (those are universally panned from what I can see.) Some fanfic is really good, some is really not good, most is somewhere in the middle.

An homage means I'm honoring what came before but putting my own spin on it.

A fanfic is really more of a pastiche. A pale copy.

Jamesaritchie
02-24-2012, 01:27 AM
probably... but I haven't found any other examples.

I see that plot on TV about once per week. I think Burn Notice has used it at least half a dozen times. I doubt it's possible to find a plot that hasn't been used a thousand times.

robjvargas
02-24-2012, 01:47 AM
I'm going to be blunt without, I hope,being mean or spiteful.

In all honesty, Morwen, you're treating this forum like a chat room, and the people who have been VERY patient answering your questions as if they were tutors who are (and it seems should be in your opinion) hanging over your shoulder as you write out this story.

Basically, no. Each and ever one of us is at work in our own little way. So far as I'm aware, there isn't one person who has posting to this board as a full time job.

I strongly recommend that you stop trying to get us to write this story for you, and either hire someone as a ghostwriter, or disappear for a month, do whatever you're going to do with this story, and get back to the forum then.

As far as I can tell, none of your posts has actually succeeded in getting you to write this story.

IceCreamEmpress
02-24-2012, 03:45 AM
Your book is not about Eva Peron, the historical person, because Eva Peron did not marry the dictator of Honduras.

Your book is not about Che Guevara, the historical person, because Che Guevara was not a servant, never met Eva Peron, and never lived in Honduras.

What is calling your characters "Eva" and "Che" buying you, other than coattails on Evita? I mean, saying "Well, my character was a small-time performer who married a dictator"--that's equally true of Jiang Qing and of Imelda Marcos as of Eva Peron. "Well, my character was highly placed in the Cuban Revolution"--that's only one facet of Che Guevara's life, and every other thing about your character Che is completely different.

Good alt-history or alt-universe novels have specific reasons for why things in that history or that universe are different from ours. What changes in your history or universe have caused Eva Peron to marry the dictator of Honduras instead of the dictator of Argentina? What changes in your universe have caused Che Guevara to be a servant from a poor family and live in Honduras instead of a doctor from a wealthy family in Argentina?

jaksen
02-24-2012, 03:52 AM
Why don't you just write a non-fiction book about Eva Peron? A biography or historical non-fiction?

bearilou
02-24-2012, 04:48 AM
Also, Tim Rice said in this article: http://www.timeandleisure.co.uk/articles/interviews/396-tim-rice-on-evita.html that the device character of Che is based on Guevara.

That right there clues me in this is more based on fandom love for the musical and not the historical personages they were very loosely based on and that you are desiring to find some way to make this work without it being fanfic.

Maybe it can be done and not run into legal trouble, I don't know. But I believe it would really serve you best to release your stranglehold on "Tim Rice said" and "in Evita they" and "it's not based on the real person, it's based on a fictional makeuppretendy person that I'm NAMING after a real life person who actually happens to have more startling similarities to"....

Release this crutch called Evita and write your story.

BunnyMaz
02-24-2012, 05:22 AM
Another way to look at it is this.

Change Eva's name to something else. Say, Gladys. Rename Che to something else. Perhaps you could call him Steve? Now, note that not one single thing about your story needs to change. You can write the exact same story you wanted to write to begin with, and there's no chance of it being fanfic. Now it depends on what your hopes are for this work whether that matters or not. If you want to get it published, you need to make sure it is not comparable to fanfic.

An homage doesn't wholesale lift names and attach them to barely-related characters. It doesn't need to, because the homage aspect would shine through regardless of what the characters were called.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-24-2012, 05:56 AM
Your book is not about Eva Peron, the historical person, because Eva Peron did not marry the dictator of Honduras.

Your book is not about Che Guevara, the historical person, because Che Guevara was not a servant, never met Eva Peron, and never lived in Honduras.

What is calling your characters "Eva" and "Che" buying you, other than coattails on Evita? I mean, saying "Well, my character was a small-time performer who married a dictator"--that's equally true of Jiang Qing and of Imelda Marcos as of Eva Peron. "Well, my character was highly placed in the Cuban Revolution"--that's only one facet of Che Guevara's life, and every other thing about your character Che is completely different.

Good alt-history or alt-universe novels have specific reasons for why things in that history or that universe are different from ours. What changes in your history or universe have caused Eva Peron to marry the dictator of Honduras instead of the dictator of Argentina? What changes in your universe have caused Che Guevara to be a servant from a poor family and live in Honduras instead of a doctor from a wealthy family in Argentina?

Che's a servant and poor because one of his grandparents was Afro-Jamaican with some Irish ancestry and came out to Honduras to work on a banana plantation, then married a working-class Honduran. Because of this, his family is very poor and he and his siblings have to work as servants.

Eva's Honduran too. She met an officer who wants to be president when they both happened to be at a charity benefit and she thought that marrying the officer will help her rise up in society. She knows that he shares some of her political views and thinks she can stand living with him, so she becomes his mistress and then marries him, keeping in mind her own career. Perón's still married to Aurelia Tizón, who didn't die of cancer and is now first lady of Argentina.

In TLGP, Che's there when Eva's trying to make sure she's first lady through lots of propaganda broadcasting and the creation of a resistance movement to overthrow the President (who's been President for a long time).

That's the background and the plot to TLGP.

ETA: The above is what I want to write and make work. It's going to be hard, but it won't be fanfic. So in fact, the questions are "What if Perón's first wife hadn't died? And Eva was born in Central America?"

Morwen Edhelwen
02-24-2012, 07:07 AM
Would anyone consider a story where the above changes were made to be alternate history? (And no, I don't want anyone to write this thing for me).

thothguard51
02-24-2012, 07:37 AM
If the story involves characters and or a world that is already published, but with new characters, to me it fan fic and not homage...

Using plot lines already already in existence isn't exactly homage.

How many times has Romeo and Juliet plot line been done, but yet the authors did not exactly mean them to be a homage to Shakespeare. West Side story being an exception in my opinion as it was very obvious...

And with a lot of American films, many times you will see in the credits, based on a novel, play, etc by authors name. Yet, the movie does not follow the novel, play etc because it is only based on. I doubt those are meant as homages as much as it is Hollywood see a way to revamp a story and make some $$$.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-24-2012, 07:40 AM
If the story involves characters and or a world that is already published, but with new characters, to me it fan fic and not homage...

Using plot lines already already in existence isn't exactly homage.

How many times has Romeo and Juliet plot line been done, but yet the authors did not exactly mean them to be a homage to Shakespeare. West Side story being an exception in my opinion as it was very obvious...

And with a lot of American films, many times you will see in the credits, based on a novel, play, etc by authors name. Yet, the movie does not follow the novel, play etc because it is only based on. I doubt those are meant as homages as much as it is Hollywood see a way to revamp a story and make some $$$.

What do you think of the alternate history plot in post #65?

thothguard51
02-24-2012, 07:43 AM
Historical Fiction.

jjdebenedictis
02-24-2012, 08:54 AM
I don't see why you feel you need our opinions at all. You know what you want to do--so go do it! It'll be awesome. :) (And you can do a search-and-replace on the names later if you decide your characters shouldn't be named Eva and Che after all.)

Personally, I think your plot is so different from the musical and the real history that most readers will assume it's a coincidence that Eva and Che have those names. They're not uncommon names.

Morwen Edhelwen
02-24-2012, 08:59 AM
thanks. I'm going to log off for a month like a lot of posters here have suggested. I need to do schoolwork as well anyway.

willietheshakes
02-24-2012, 10:25 AM
I don't think what I'm doing is a blatant rip-off of Evita. I think a blatant rip-off is when you take something and barely change anything. I'm not doing that ETA: Unless you meant a "blatant riff"

I don't think it matters whether you think it's a blatant rip-off or a cleverly couched homage; I think it matters what the reader thinks.

And based on the description you've supplied, I think I would respond with "Wow, that's a blatant rip-off." Along with "I wonder if ALW knows about this."

I firmly stand by the idea that it's not what something's about, it's HOW it's about it (that, for the record, is a blatant rip-off of Roger Ebert), and I'm only going from your description (so I don't know the HOW in any great detail), but using Eva and Che would tip me over immediately, and I'd be looking for the rip (and therefore not really reading your work).

Now you'll have to excuse me, I feel a hankering to listen to Mandy do Che on the OBC recording. Say what you will about Mandy, he owns the role (though I do have a fondness for Colm in other things).

Morwen Edhelwen
02-24-2012, 01:44 PM
This (without the mentions of Che and Eva's names) is the plot of what I'm doing:
A dieselpunk YA novel set in Honduras. The protagonist, a fourteen-year-old boy, and his mother work as servants to the mother's cousin, who came from a peasant background, always longed to be an actress, is one of the children of a prostitute and was made pregnant as a child. She left for the nearest city and got a job as a bar singer and prostitute, having an affair with a bandleader who pimps her out and helps her get a job at a radio station. She eventually becomes an actress, singer and broadcaster (partly through the casting couch) and gets involved in politics. At the time of the novel, she is married to and has children with one of her former lovers, a military officer, and they're planning a coup to get themselves into power.

Terie
02-24-2012, 02:14 PM
Morwen, the only way your book is going to get written is for you to sit down and write it.

As of the post above, you've made 686 posts on AW since 8 Dec. If the average number of words for your posts is, say, 20, that's 13,720 words you've written at AW in just under three months. And that's being conservative; you've probably written a lot more words here than that.

Do you know that that's the equivalent of 25% of a YA manuscript?

IOW, if you'd spent those words on your manuscript instead of all over AW, you'd be one-quarter or more of the way to a completed first draft.

You keep saying you're going to sign off AW and write, and yet you keep posting.

Here's what you need to do, which I've said, and so have many many others:

SIT DOWN AND WRITE YOUR BOOK!

Stop wasting your (and many other people's) time faffing about and do something productive instead:

SIT DOWN AND WRITE YOUR BOOK!

People here really do want you to succeed. Which is why we keep telling you to:

SIT DOWN AND WRITE YOUR BOOK!

There's only one way for your book to get written. You have to:

SIT DOWN AND WRITE YOUR BOOK!!