A post at terrible minds by Michael Moreci: Writing under the influence.
It’s the same balance of embracing your influences while maintaining your own voice. If you want to tell an epic fantasy but feel like it’s too much like Robert Jordan, remember that it’s you telling the story in your unique way. And the more you write, and the more your story takes shape, I’m confident that it’ll sounds less and less like Wheel of Time and more like your own thing. The same thing exists in Black Star Renegades. The Star Wars DNA is all over that book, but so is my DNA. There’s a lot of love for the galaxy far, far away in those pages, but there’s also a deconstruction of the messiah complex, and that dominant aspect of the book is all me. That’s my voice coming through, and it’s what makes that story what it is, and not just a Star Wars rip-off.
Best tidbit from this post:
Solomon said there’s nothing new under the sun, and in my opinion that’s true (to a degree—if you dropped Solomon into our world, I’m sure he’d say “Holy shit! Look at all these new things under the sun!”)
That made me chuckle.
Anyway, I agree. In fact, I’m probably more adamant about this than Michael Moreci, because he writes stuff for existing characters and I don’t. And the reason I don’t is because when I used to try (in my head) to write, for example, a Star Trek tie-in type of thing, it was hopeless. Completely hopeless.
Things I just cannot do: stay true to the voice of someone else’s characters.
So, yeah, I don’t worry about accidentally writing a Wheel of Time clone — or in my case, a Patricia McKillip clone — because I really don’t think it’s possible. No matter what I try to do, my own voice comes through. I think that’s basically true for everyone.
Or mostly. I really admire the authors who have pulled off the best Star Trek tie-ins.