META: Wish Fulfillment, WCs, and Mary Sues

Jamie Rosen jamie.rosen at
Tue Mar 14 06:44:28 PST 2006

>Is it plagarism to take a high concept (like Defending Your Life, or
>Clark Kent's College Days) and extrapolate from it?

No. Plagiarism is taking somebody's writing and passing it off as your

You're talking about inspiration. Since you've made it quite clear that
you don't like the execution of the stories -- in other words, if I may
be so bold, you like the ideas but not the plots -- you'd obviously
write something different from what came first. If you sat down and
rewrote "Clark Kent's College Days" and basically just changed the
names and some other window dressing, that would be a different matter;
but sitting down and saying, "What if a college professor took it on
himself to discover a superhero's secret identity?" is just taking an
idea and running with it.

After all, doesn't the above sound a bit like some Spider-Man story?

If you think about it, many good ideas are twists on previous ones.
Heck, the Punisher is a variant on Batman -- instead of a child seeing
his parents gunned down in front of him, a father sees his wife and
child gunned down in front of him. It would be interesting to see a
maternal take on the same idea.

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