Friday, 4 April 2014

Writing - Value of books, literary conflict and agents.

Periodically there arises arguments about plagiarism and the after effects. It has gone on for donkey's years. Well there is a new revelation about the amazingly successful 'Game of Thrones'.

To a degree I feel unique in that I can say with some pride that I have never seen a single episode nor have I read the books, 'A Song of Fire' and 'Ice', written by George R R Martin. Now, however, there is a rival for the attention. (It can only be good for the writers!) This is not really an intellectual property argument because it is Martin himself who revealed his source of inspiration. Books written by Maurice Druon, 'Les Roi Maudits' (The Accursed Kings) is a seven book series written between the 1950s and the 1970s and is predominantly a historical series. Game of Thrones is full of intense political intrigue and gruesome deaths. War and its aftermath are described in brutal detail. Characters have sexual relationships, and sometimes even heroes die unexpectedly. Strip away the supernatural elements, and what is left looks more like a historical saga, chronicling all-too-human conflict. In other words The Accursed Kings! 
The bottom line of course is good for the authors. The French version has been translated and is being reprinted when previously it had dwindled into literary obscurity, wallowing around somewhere above where my efforts lie!

Whatever the arguments, when they arise, are very simply of benefit to the writers. People are curious and they will seek out the books and buy - all grist to the mill. The origins of works usually form the basis of these conflicts and have gone back for centuries such as the claim that Edward de Vere 17th Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays and poetry attributed to William Shakespeare. I always thought  it was Francis Bacon or was it Christopher Marlowe perhaps another of the 80 candidates that have been put forward!

I suppose it would be quite flattering to have someone claim that Clive Cussler or Bernard Cornwell had written the Steele novels in years to come! Of course these authors were conventionally published and that particular issue was raised this week. I was asked if I'm still trying to engage the services of a literary agent and the simple answer is - no. That is not to say that every so often I don't revisit the idea. There is in me that essentially human desire for recognition and so I'm writing this tossing the idea around. I've even glanced at some literary agent websites but the slightly worrying thing is that some of them seem to have hardened their attitudes towards previously self-published works, rejecting them out of hand. As a writer with only six completed novels under my belt I know that my skills are improving and so the last novel Cessation would be a good candidate for submission.

If there is anyone out there with any easy answers!

On VG today.

God Bless