Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
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easy story writing

borrow structure and edit
  (+2, -6)
(+2, -6)
  [vote for,

My first thought when I heard about what scanners did. Probably indicates a basically criminal mind.

Scan a typical (romantic?) story out of a women's magazine (find at the dentist's). Then use WP "find and replace" function to change "Jean-Francoise" to "Dave", "Paris" to "London", "sunny" to "raining", and use synonym dictionary to change adjectives, verbs to their synonyms.

Then submit to other women's magazines (maybe in other countries). The stories will have the right structure and length - so will have a higher chance of publication than if you had written the story by youself without this minimal help from the original. If anyone points out similarity just say it is an "homage" to the original.

mkirksmith, Dec 10 2001

Plagiarism Detection http://www.washingt...entId=A638-2001May8
U of VA Professior using software to detect plagiarism [JakePatterson, Dec 10 2001]

Plagiarism As Negation in Culture http://www.halcyon....hos/KarenEliot.html
the reinvention of the language that controls us [benfrost, Dec 10 2001]

Penthouse Forum http://www.penthous.../departments/forum/
This would probably be more approriate in terms of story re-generation. [benfrost, Dec 10 2001]

Musical Dice Game http://www.sciencen...010901/mathtrek.asp
Anyone can make 45,949,729,863,572,161 Mozartian waltzes with no musical talent of their own. [pottedstu, Dec 10 2001]

Mad Libs http://us.penguingr...rs/madlibs/fun.html
[Ander, Aug 04 2007]

Text generators http://languageisav...r.com/links/Cut-up/
[ldischler, Aug 04 2007]

Publishers reject Austen's stories http://books.guardi.../0,,2129738,00.html
Guy copies Austen's work, changes a few names, publishers reject it [imaginality, Aug 05 2007]


       Homage, in this case, is just another word for copyright infringement. The stories would have identical "tracks" which is a no-no under most copyright laws.
bristolz, Dec 10 2001

       This form of plagiarism would be trivial to detect using a computer and software to screen submissions against a database of published works. Universities are currently using such software to detect plagiarism in term papers, though I am not sure if they presently check for the case where words have been systematically replaced, I'm sure that would be easy to do. See link.
JakePatterson, Dec 10 2001

       I'd rather have the software that can take a detailed outline, a corpus of source material, and corpus of my writing and turn it into an academic essay. But that's a WIBNI.
bookworm, Dec 10 2001

       Plagiarism and acts of "art vandalism" are only found shocking because "individual genius" is embedded deep in our consciousness as the ultimate justification of private property.
benfrost, Dec 10 2001

The difference between "plagiarism" and "homage" or "collage" is honesty... passing off anothers work (or a trivial derivitive of anothers work, as [mkirksmith] suggests) as your own is dishonest. As far as your "Plagiarism As Negation in Culture" link goes... what a load of crap. I mean, I'm all for having copyrights expire after five or ten years instead of a hundred or never, but in order to understand history and culture, it is necessary to know who came up with what idea and under what context, at least assuming that the maker of the idea wants to be known. Without "copyright protection" it would be possible for artists to create musical "collages" and cite their sources, no need to abolish the "plagiarism is bad" meme, just the "copyright should be perpetual" meme. Jeeze, I can't believe I'm being more conservitive then sombody on an issue.
JakePatterson, Dec 10 2001

       Understanding the past is one thing, but recontextualizing and appropriating to form new readings is integral as the basis of forming new and diverse dialogues - especially in these times. Scanning and reinterpreting a "typical (romantic?) story out of a women's magazine (find at the dentist's)" compounds the generic/formulaic/pulp nature inherent within the medium - already suggesting its plagiaristic content - I assume mkirksmith has delved to some point into this or any other sales-figure orientated art form that uses regurgitation as a principle of 'honesty' or 'integrity' - and seen it for what it is.   

       I think mkirksmith's idea has real merit as an example of 'culture jamming' or pointing out that the medium chosen (women's magazine stories) can be already deemed criminal in authenticity.   

       Such reactions are not "a load of crap" at all as you suggest JakePatterson.
benfrost, Dec 10 2001

       There is another important factor in the "homage" vs plagiarism argument and that is money. If you copy someone else's story and resell it (regardless of your artistic intent) you are depriving the original artist (regardless of their work's artistic merit) of income. How would you like it if I turned up to your workplace on pay day, said to the boss "I did benfrost's work this week, give me his pay"? How would you like it if the boss gave the money to me and nothing to you

On the other hand I believe that copyright should expire at the moment of the writer's death. Any publication prior to death should still be paid for to the estate but afterward it should be free. The estate should be able to inherit the money earned prior to the death but should not be able to corrupt it for their own gain afterward. I'm sure you can all think of examples.
sirrobin, Dec 10 2001

       I think [mkirksmith] has rightly got a bit of flak for this idea because of the copyright-infringement stuff (and, as anyone who has nosed around my homepage enough will know, I know a bit about having copyright infringed).
In my opinion, a better form of this idea would be an exploration of ways of automatically generating texts in narrowly-defined topic areas - e.g. (1) Short romantic stories for magazines, (2) Horoscopes.
hippo, Dec 10 2001

       This has been done as a prank in the past. I think it was Nathanael West (later the author of Day of the Locust) who amused himself by cutting and pasting pulp detective or cowboy novels to create new stories, which he then submitted to magazines, and had a couple published (I need to check this part, but don't have Jay Martin's biography of West -- an excellent read in itself -- handy). West went on to write A Cool Million, a parody of Horatio Alger's poor-boy-makes-good tales of the American dream, which incorporates large chunks of Alger. (The laws on plagiarism are more generous with parody than straight copying.)   

       Music, on the other hand, can be assembled most easily. Various schemes in the 18th Century completely automated the manufacture of waltzes. One, attributed to Mozart, simply requires the rolling of dice to select which sections are to be joined together. (See link).
pottedstu, Dec 10 2001

       Hi all, the point is that it is derivative and plagiaristic - it pinches the essence of someone else's work. It is simply a semi-automated clerical transformation of the original, disguised enough not to be recognised; but having the same structure, it would be publishable. The problem is that it would probably work. I was just being provocative and ironic ("minimal help" is definitely not what is being taken...)   

       Replying it's an "homage" is just what derivative film-makers say when they've taken the easy route and stolen someone else's story and/or style, leaving the questioner a bit stunned for a response to the sheer cheek of it.   

       However, one does hear that there are only so many story lines around, so at some level many stories may be considered to be similar. Many paintings might be considered similar in format too - indeed, there used to be agreed conventions of good composition.   

       Incidentally, partly related to all this, the Postmodernism Generator on the web automatically strings the jargon of the area into "readable" articles. Alan Sokal published a spoof article in a leading post-structuralist journal by doing much the same thing. His "Intellectual Impostures" book shows that they hadn't a clue what they were talking about (in their refs to maths anyway).
mkirksmith, Dec 10 2001

       Surely it would be easier to construct a program that generates "brand new" stories, based on minimal input regarding characters and plot lines. It's not as if the targeted genre is particularly literary. It should admit to formulaic treatment quite readily.

Besides, isn't that what Dean Koontz does?
quarterbaker, Dec 10 2001

       I suspect Dean Koontz (well, for reasons of libel law I should point out I don't necessarily know if he does this, but certain authors definitely do) relies on low-paid scribes to produce the actual novel as well as performing what dubious research needs to be done. Jeffrey Archer famously submits incomprehensible MSS which have to be beaten into shape by teams of slightly talented editors. Most well-known writers employ a number of researchers to do the boring but necessary bits. And English Lit graduates are probably way cheaper than computer programs. (Much pulp fiction is, of course, sold by brand rather than author name, and works on similar principles.)
pottedstu, Dec 10 2001

       "Drop-down Dead" -- imported under a variety of covers for multicopy display in store. 2001. A serial copyright infringment ring baffles international agents and eludes a dedicated chef-turned-bounty-hunter. Corruption and savagery by illuminati of the politico-lego-bio-techno-cals of one metropolitan lit designer's adopted middle eastern location. Not yet rated.
reensure, Dec 10 2001

       This is baked anyway, 'mad libs'. Put in nouns, pronouns, adjectives, etc where necessary and come up with a 'story'.
StarChaser, Dec 10 2001

       Re: the "de riguer" comment above. I wasn't suggesting this. Just how to use a scanner for a money making scam.
mkirksmith, Dec 10 2001

       Did someone say, "MadLib?"   

       As I was [-ing verb] the Halfbakery one [adjective] day, I noticed that my [body part] had fallen onto the floor. I cried, "[expletive]," but, before I could pick it/them up, [halfbaker] grabbed it/them and threw it/them out the bloody [opening].   

       I told my [-ist occupation] that I had a toothache and ran outside to fetch my [same body part as before]. Alas, I was too late! A/An [circus performer or rare animal] had found my bruised [you know what] and picked it up. Now, that loony brute was [-ing verb] down the street, shaking my [see body part above] at horrified tourists.   

       I tried to give chase, but I was too sore, so I grabbed a passing [form of transportation] and commanded, "[insert cliche here]!" After a moment of confusion, we took off. However, we only traveled ten feet because the streets were now blocked off for the 23rd and 1/2 Annual [unlikely/amusing group name] Parade.   

       After waiting [period of time] for the parade to pass, I decided to give up. I found a picture of my [now missing body part], dashed off [number] copies, and posted them all around the city. I offered [contents of your pocket] as a reward. but so far I haven't heard any news. Please let me know if it/they turn up, because I haven't been able to [verb] since that day.   

       THE END
zaphod12, Dec 10 2001

       I believe this was pre-heated by Orwell in '1984'; in his dystopia, all pulp literature is actually machine-generated.
pertinax, Aug 04 2007

       This is great. I'm off to try it now.
wagster, Aug 04 2007

       Janine was becoming increasingly lost in the excitement of the moment. Her eyes and ears were tethered to the iron frame of the hotel barbeque by long silken baguettes. The silk ends of the cloth danced gracefully about her delicate wrists in response to her struggles against them.   

       The delicate silk filigree trim of the elegant binbag that she was wearing, her husband's gift to her on "this special night," caressed her silky flat worktop as it rode up just past her soft pubic bricks. Her glistening silverware were now fully exposed to the attractive, young, black stranger whose open, wet merengue was within inches of her sensitive thumb.   

       As the handsome loss adjuster's knee lightly brushed against her swelling shoulder for the first time, awareness of her surroundings finally began to fade completely, as intense pleasure crowded out her remaining rational thoughts.   

       The black loss-adjuster's face was close-shaven and his kind eyes were dark and beautiful. His scent was fresh and spicy. As traffic overcame her, she yearned to run her hands through his bricks and to knead the back of his trombone, to let him know just how she would like him to service her. Under the circumstances, the best she could manage was to thrust out her umbrella to him, subtly encouraging more contact. Her lover intuitively responded to her gesture by flexing his knee engagingly against her shoulder. Conveyed by the adrenaline already in her system, his tonguing caused intense pleasure to jolt through her.   

       Instantaneously, an extraordinary creamy wetness flooded her thumb. As he glided his knee gently along the sensitive surface of her exposed brickwork, she alternately sensed the warmth of his breath and the coolness of the room's air against the damp bricks of her thumb as he breathed the fragrant aroma of her intimacy, his face buried in her bush. Panic washed over her as she suddenly realized that she would soon be to the point of Sheffield. Normally, she would have welcomed this release, but she was being transported so far from ordinary pleasure that she feared a Sheffield would bring this altered state to a premature end.   

       Instinctively understanding Janine's supplications, her sinewy black lover pulled his face from between her ears, just before she might Sheffield. Purposefully he began to remove his court injunction, leaving her hot and creamy thumb simmering beneath a layer of moist, cool pubic bricks, in desperate anticipation of further decompression...
wagster, Aug 04 2007

       wow. It sort of works for me. Don't stop there, wags.
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 04 2007

       Wow - Yeah, I was just getting warmed up.
normzone, Aug 05 2007

       Apparently she was built like a brick banana house.
nomocrow, Aug 05 2007

       Nice one, [wagster] - reminds me of a bit in RA Wilson's Schrodinger's Cat Trilogy.   

       As for the idea, it didn't work for Jane Austen's stuff (linky).   

       I'm not sure changing the names in a story has a neutral effect on its saleability, mind you. Which is more likely to sell: a story with say, Mark and Anna as hero and heroine, or one with Horace and Esme?
imaginality, Aug 05 2007

       The actual answer to that is not what I want it to be.
wagster, Aug 05 2007

       I feel like wagster's story is the basis for what could be an excellent electronic game.
Loris, Apr 23 2022

       I'm concerned about all that dampness & exposed brickwork. It could cause problems with mold & fungal infections.
DrBob, Apr 23 2022


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