Copy cat from Ballarat

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“In a house on the hill there lived a boggart. Filbo Faggins was his name, and he was not interested in adventure. Not even for treasure.”

Sound familiar?

At the tender age of nine, I sat down to write my first novel. The only problem was I didn’t have any ideas. So I pulled down a book from the family bookshelf, one that I loved, in order to get inspiration. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that inspiration didn’t mean copying down what I read albeit for a few letter changes. I did come up with rhyming ‘adventure’ with ‘treasure’ though, of which I was very proud of.

I had recently received the third Harry Potter book for my birthday and as you can see, I drew some ‘inspiration’ from that as well. A boggart, in actual fact, would make an excellent thief. He would just scare Smaug – or Draug as I may have called him – into running away from his treasure.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get that far, because my sister interrupted my writing. She must have seen The Hobbit open beside me and the delightfully original Filbo Faggins and come to the conclusion that I may have been plagiarising. I was devastated when she informed me of copyright laws and I immediately deleted the whole thing, never to see the light of day. Until today.

A year later, still struggling with finding my own inspiration, J.K. Rowling’s books once again caught my eye. Rowling was delightfully original, I thought. Maybe there was a way I could absorb that originality.

So I took the first book down and preceded to write out the story by hand, hoping I could somehow become as great as she was. I managed a whole page before my hand cramped and I gave up. That was not the way to become an original author, I decided.

The years passed and my writing slowly stopped drawing so much inspiration from my favourite books and started to find their own way. And then one night, I woke up with a story. An original idea, that no one can say I copied. It was like the floodgates opened. I was dreaming up ideas left, right and centre, struggling to write one down before the next one presented itself.

Now if I could just write that first story down…

How about yourselves? Were you always full of ideas, from a child? Or were you like me, and needed to experience life a little more before the muse deigned to visit you?

*Note: Ballarat is a city in Victoria. I don’t know why copy cats come from Ballarat, but everyone in Victoria knows it.

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12 thoughts on “Copy cat from Ballarat

  1. I remember drawing my own clifford books when I was in kindergarten. Then, I did this mini comic book series with my friend about dental hygiene, star wars bloopers, and other crazy stories. My 5th grade teacher found them hilarious.
    After that I was pulled into music and started writing a lot of lyrics and pretty, whether it was sensitive, fun, and angry. I don’t think I truly started writing stories till I was in my sophomore year of high school when I started learning about marvel super heroes and had English teachers who pushed me to write. They gave me a lot of motivation.
    I remember always telling my parents and friends that I was going to publish a book one day and no one really took my seriously. Then almost 8 years later, I have my first published novel and still trying to pump more out as we speak. I think writing is a tough career, but it is a wonderful hobby! Hope your stories come fluidly soon. Really enjoy your blog so far!

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  2. My first experience with story telling came from playing with my action figures when I was just a boy. Sure I was using Batman, Power Ranger, and Spider-Man figures but I was telling original stories (granted they were always action-packed with little to no real plot other than “beat the bad guy”).

    Then in 4th grade, I started writing a story called Who Dug Up My Brother’s Grave? Thankfully I cannot remember much else than that. I also have a vague memory of emulating much of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps stories.

    But I always kept to writing original stories. Maybe I pulled the plagiarizing thing at one point until someone explained it to me but if I did then I don’t remember it.

    I have to say that the title of this article is what caught me. I really love it. I love finding new and unique idioms. Do you know of any other cool quotes that an American like myself might not have heard?

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    • I never played with dolls. I don’t know what I did with my time, but I remember a strong hatred for little plastic people. I did write some original stories amongst the plagiarized ones, but it did take a while for me to come up with good original ideas. I could never read Goosebumps, I was too scared of them at the time. The covers freaked me out.

      To be honest, I can’t come up with any idioms off the top of my head. They tend to come to me when I’m writing or saying something in relation. But if I do remember any other stupid little Australian sayings I’ll let you know šŸ™‚

      Thanks for the comment!

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      • You’re Australian! =]

        You used the word ‘mum’ in one of your other articles and so I assumed you were English (I know you guys have similar accents but if I actually heard you speak I am pretty confident I would have been able to tell).

        In another comment I left in a different article I mentioned Bliss N’ Eso. They’re a popular Australian hip-hop group (though I could see you not hearing of them if you don’t listen to rap). But I am a big fan of the Aussie hip-hop scene (I know more Aussie artists than I do American). Since I got in to it some years ago, I’ve wanted to visit Australia (Sydney or another big city, you SO WILL NOT catch me in the outback).

        Alright. That’s it. Sorry. I got excited. I love Australia. Lol

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      • Haha, it seems a lot of people get excited about Australia. Yeh, we use the same spelling system as the English. Depends with the accent, Americans can’t tell whether I’m English or Australian but if you go to other areas the Aussie accent is so thick you can’t mistake it.

        Nope, sorry not a fan of hip hop, it jars my brain. Like jazz. Yes I just put hip hop in the same category as jazz, but I just find the inconsistent beats with the vocals makes my head go crazy. I do know we have a reasonable hip hop scene, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge!

        The outback is really amazing, but if you prefer city life I suggest Sydney or Melbourne. I much prefer Melbourne but that’s just because I live here šŸ™‚ Sydney is a very confusing city, because it kind of just popped up, whereas Melbourne was planned so it’s a lot easier to navigate. Good for tourists!

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  3. I think I would prefer Sydney only because it is heavy in the hip-hop scene. But I love Aussie hip-hop because a lot of it focuses on spreading a positive message as opposed to the “gangsta rap” scene you often find in America (though there are very talented American artists that I do appreciate).

    But I’m rather confident I can distinguish English accents from Aussie and even understand the heaviest accents. But that is only because unlike English people singing (they usually lose their accents much like The Beatles when they sing), Australians still have a heavy accent when they rap and I can understand them just fine.

    But not everyone can like rap. My only beef is when people don’t like it because of the stereotypes associated with it. But if it is an aesthetic thing then at least that is a legitimate reason which is pretty much the same reason why I’m not a big fan of country.

    I like some jazz but I’m actually not a big fan of instrumentals (unless I want some background noise and even then…) but I LOVE me some blues.

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    • I must say that the lyrics for a lot of rap turn me off. I’m not exactly interested in what the ‘gangsta’ rap has to say, because I’ve yet to find one that portrays a positive message. But I’m not going to like a song just because it is rap if the lyrics are good and the beat is smooth.

      I work at an airport hotel and I get asked a lot by Americans whether I’m Australian (maybe also because I’m pale and not remotely stereotypical Aussie). Not a bad thing, it’s sometimes hard for us to pick the differences between Canadian and American. I have to be careful not to say anything like, ‘What part of Canada are you from?’ just in case I ask an American and they get offended. I usually just wait for the distinct dialect differences then ask questions.

      Some blues is okay, like I said, as long as it has a consistent beat I’m fine with it!

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      • Songs with positive messages that I would suggest would be What They Say by Mind Over Matter and Chiddy x Bang (I could have that title wrong) by Bliss N Eso (and if you have a problem with the inconsistent beats then you could always check out almost anything from Bliss N Eso’s latest album Circus in the Sky as a lot of people complain that it sounds more like a musical (even Bliss N Eso make a reference to it in one of their songs) and it is the first time they ever had a live band perform with them in the studio for the song House of Dreams).

        An example of some lyrics from What They Say is: “I don’t believe what they say, try to take my innocence. I defend it and embrace our differences. I paint these images like I made the pyramids where love wins the war and shapes are infinite.”

        But I’m honestly not trying to push it on you. Lol I just have a deep appreciation for hip-hop. Like I said, it really is not for everyone. Growing up, my dad would forbid that I listen to rap because all he knew about it was the negative crap that most people hear (the kind that promotes drugs, violence, gang lifestyle, etc.) and it was really all I ever heard too. But I got even him to appreciate that there really is some positive things to it and that it all depends on the artist (though he still doesn’t listen to it because it’s just not for him).

        I’ll also be writing an article for my blog about rap (titled something like Rap’s Bad Rap) after I, hopefully get a small interview from underground Aussie rapper NJE (another artist who promotes the spread of positivity, especially with his song Superhero Theme Music). Another amazing song by BnE is Bullet and a Target with Connections Zulu Choir all about their experience in observing the poverty in South Africa.

        But that’s enough out of me! I don’t actually expect you to go out and listen to any of these songs. You just struck a chord in my passion zone is all. = ]

        It would be cool (though not always, I imagine) to work in an airport setting where you get to meet so many different people. I also find it hilarious that you would mix up Americans and Canadians (though I don’t see any point in being offended over it but some people are like that). I guess it is the same way that you might find it funny that someone might mix up Australians and English.

        And I’m not really sure what a “stereotypical Australian” is supposed to look like. I mean, over here in the States I guess most people think of Crocodile Dundee or Steve Irwin or somebody like that. Lol

        Sorry for going on like that. I get on a roll and forget to shut up.

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      • I’ll have a look at anything that’s recommended to me! I have a little red book that sits by my computer and if anyone suggests anything I should look at I write it down to make sure I don’t forget. So down goes Mind over Matter and Bliss N Eso šŸ™‚

        It’s not that I mix them up, I just have to listen to a few sentences before I’m definite. It also helps if a Canadian says ‘about’. It is pretty funny though, considering how much we’re exposed to American accents on the television and it still takes a little while to hear the difference between them and Canadians.

        That’s exactly what I think everyone sees Aussies like, rough as guts and jumping on crocodiles all the time, or riding kangaroos to work. Yes, I’ve heard that one before. Working at an airport can be hilarious. I must say though, as a wildlife rescuer, I do tend to jump on a lot of animals…

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  4. I still copy out passages from stories that bowl me over. I don’t know if it helps with my writing or not. I just like doing it šŸ™‚

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    • Well, if you can use it as inspiration, why not? I tend to get more depressed then anything after reading some of my favourite authors. I read a passage and just know I’ll never be that good! Here’s to low self confidence! šŸ™‚

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