Copy cat from Ballarat


“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.