A to Z Blogging Challenge: Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
A to Z Blog Challenge / April 11, 2016

Art imitates life. No, wait. That’s not what I meant to say. I imitate art. Probably a little more accurate. There’s some snobbery in the writing community about having your own voice. Don’t get me wrong: I do not approve of plagiarizing. However, there’s a huge difference between plagiarizing and using something for inspiration. Art students often start by mimicking the Masters. Musicians frequently try to copy their idols (why else would American Idol have made it through fifteen seasons?). When writers try out another writer’s voice, though, there’s generally some outrage. “Fan fiction is bad!” “Writing like someone else is bad!” “Bad. Bad! BAD!” Bah humbug. Copying a writer’s voice, like anything else, is how you learn. Sometimes, it’s how you make a living, especially if you’re a satirist or write parody. There are writers who make really good money as ghost writers learning to copy someone’s voice. But there should be limits. Use copying someone’s voice to a humorous effect. Parody is generally considered fair use (although I’m not a lawyer and the Figment lawyers hate me, so they wouldn’t give me any advice). Use copying someone else’s voice for practice. Whether you write fan fiction or flat-out…