When I’m reading, I’m always a little bit afraid that I’ll end up plagiarizing. Where is the line between being inspired and stealing ideas?
Of course we can’t copy something word for word. That’s clearly plagiarism.
And of course we can’t write a story about a young magician who survives assassination at birth, comes away with a thunder scar, and heads to a live-away school to defeat a nemesis.
But we can read a line of poetry, hear a line of dialogue, see people interacting, read a story, read a book, and come away with our own ideas.
Statistically, there will be overlap. What people reads always informs what they write (that’s why the publishing market sees influxes of particular genres or subjects). Yet there is always the fear (sometimes paralyzing) that we are taking instead of reshaping.
How do we know what is ours and what is stolen?