Kalliope Amorphous_Imitation Vs. Inspiration: On Creativity And Visual Plagiarism

Here is a reasoned call to artistic (and, I would argue, intellectual) authenticity from the blog of Kalliope Amorphous: Imitation Vs. Inspiration: On Creativity And Visual Plagiarism. The copying of a visual artwork, complete with a largely cut and pasted artist’s statement, described in this post would be called plagiarism in the academic world and viewed with disappointment, distrust and disgust. It is a breach of trust at an individual and community level.

Referencing and developing fresh ideas around other people’s ideas is how the world of ideas maintains momentum and it should be encouraged. However, referencing is the key word. We need to be honest and courageous enough to acknowledge credit where it is due.

With this in mind, go forth and create.




Students of VCE English may have to write a piece in the imaginative mode for the Context study. It is most probable that the form of creative writing will require writing good prose (unless poetry is chosen).

What is good prose?

Good prose is writing which compels the reader to read on.

It generates mind pictures, atmosphere and mood.  It establishes characters and it arouses curiosity about them and their circumstances, relationships and motivations. It constructs captivating dilemmas, responses and consequences. It elicits emotional responses. It stimulates thought. It satisfies the aesthetic sense through form, language and storytelling. It feeds the ethical and philosophical sense: it can prick the conscience or offer a mirror to reflect on one’s humanity and the condition of Mankind.

How does an author or writer develop satisfying pieces of writing?

  • Authority, authenticity and finding the heart of the story
  • Imagery, sensory detail and providing a fresh ‘vision’
  • Conciseness, flair and making every word matter
  • Rhythm, euphony and creating  pitch, pace and pause
  • Poise, elegance and shaping a unique narrative

What can you do to find inspiration and develop writing skills

Just do it!

Other things you can practise:

  • Observation of people and surroundings.Image
  • Listening closely to the stories people tell each other.
  • Awareness of all the senses and how they inform our perception of the world
  • Exercise curiosity about what you hear, see and read. Ask yourself questions like: Why might this have happened? What is likely to happen as a consequence? What other possible explanations are there? Who else may have been affected or involved? What may have motivated certain actions? What would the situation have been like? How might the people involved have felt? How would I feel? What would I have done? Etc.
  • Recording your observations as above and your memories of experiences or stories — carry a notebook and pen or use digital notepad.
  • Reading widely and closely — explore a range of text types.
  • Writing a little every day — set aside 5-10 minutes to do writing exercises.
  • Researching specifics of subject matter, place, era, objects etc.
  • Having the courage to step out of your comfort zone and give it a go.
  • Having the persistence to keep at it, to chip away at it, to craft it.                                                    Just do it!


Emotional Appeals and Persuasion

Pics from Samsung 142

Emotional appeals may activate deep seated beliefs through appeals to values such as:

  1. Sense of family (Eg. ‘This is family-friendly’, ‘Our families are under fire!’)
  2. Sense of justice and fair play (Eg. Language such as ‘rights’, ‘fair go’, ‘Aussie Battlers’)
  3. Sense of pride, identity and belonging (Eg. National pride, Gay Pride, pride in one’s team etc)
  4. Sense of tradition and the familiar (Eg. Anzac Day Parade; ‘We mustn’t change’)
  5. Sense of decency, etiquette, manners and decorum (Eg. Language like, ‘Imagine behaving like that!’ ‘It’s the decent thing to do!’)
  6. Sense of duty and obligation (Eg. Language like, ‘We owe it to our children to…’)
  7. Sense of entitlement and privilege (Eg. Language like, ‘We’ve worked hard for…’)
  8. Sense of respect and honour (Eg. ‘The young ones have no respect!’ ‘What a hero!’)
  9. Sense of security and safety (Eg. ‘If this goes ahead, nobody will be secure!’)
  10. Sense of compassion and mercy (Eg. ‘What terrible suffering!’ ‘I forgive…’)
  11. Sense of the common bond of humanity, Brotherhood and Sisterhood (Eg. ‘Together, we shall rebuild!’ ‘We women/men must ensure that…’ )

Persuasive and evocative language can access primal emotions such as:

  1. Fear and anxiety (Warning people of reasonable, potential threats can motivate action but fear mongering is deliberate, unreasonable and extreme playing on fear to manipulate or to sensationalise.)
  2. Guilt and shame
  3. Anger
  4. Desire for power

Social change can threaten values held by individuals and groups, generating powerful feelings of fear or outrage. This response may be subtly manipulated by writers using language with connotations or cultural allusions or more blatantly stirred up by inflammatory or emotive language. Personal attacks of people opposed to the writer’s position are known as attacking the opposition and may include mockery, sarcasm, pejorative statements, name calling or mudslinging (comments or narratives which bring up someone’s alleged negative personal history). Commentary which is critical of those resisting change may include phrases like ‘sacred cow’.

When such powerful emotions are evoked, they can generate irrational responses from members of the public and ‘knee jerk’ reactions by policy makers. This may be just the outcome a writer desires. On the other hand, it may be an unintended result.

Consider this adage: *“The pen is mightier than the sword.”*

Words are powerful and should be governed well.

*This version of the adage originated from Cardinal Richelieu’s speech in Act II, Scene II of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1839 play script, Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy.*