However I have been thinking all the time, and now I know how I can get past the Barrier of Cordy's Hair. I'll start writing the moment I finish this post.
I've put things right with bloodshedbaby, which is a weight off my mind. The only good thing about my habit of thoughtlessly upsetting nice people is that nice people are also nice about accepting apologies. I'd still prefer to upset nasty people, of course, as long as they are not the type of nasty people who come round and break your legs, or launch invasions of your country for no logical reason, or - thinking about it, there's a lot to be said for upsetting only nice people.
I've been following the big Plagiarism kerfuffle. I still can't understand why anyone would do it. Use the odd idea, yes; I think most of us do it to some extent; but pinching whole stories? What's the point? It's still made me nervous, both of having my own work stolen and of using ideas from other authors without due credit.
I've had a look around the net and I don't think anyone has pinched anything of mine. There are two stories in progress at the moment that read as if they have been influenced by "Pandora's Boxer", but they're definitely not plagiarism. From a similar starting point they are rapidly spinning off in completely different directions, and they develop the situations in a way that is nothing like the way I handled them. I regard those stories as "Fair use", if indeed it's not pure coincidence, and I don't mind at all. If either started using my dialogue or major plot points that would be a whole different vibe.
I had better give credit to a couple of stories that in turn influenced me.
If I hadn't read Here is Gone by Terri Botta then "Pandora's Boxer" wouldn't have been quite the way it is. Anyone who has read both stories (and you should read hers, it's great!) will know that there is virtually no similarity, but it influenced some of my thought processes when forming the framework in which "Pandora's Boxer" operates.
I would never have done "It's Got to be Perfect" if I hadn't read kallysten's Practically Perfect, the definitive answer to the same Challenge by kantayra. I don't think I've used anything from the story itself, and if I have it is totally unconsciously.
The passing mention of Harmony having a sister called Megan in IGTBP, and in my "Roxyverse" story "The Secret Diary of Dawn Summers", are deliberate in-jokes referring to rahirah's classic Necessary Evils. I see that as effectively a "pop-culture reference". If rahirah is unhappy about it I'd change it straight away.
I wouldn't have written "I was made for loving you baby" if I hadn't previously read Buffybot behind Bars & Buffybot in Tabula Rasa by keswindhover, and The Buffybot Adventures by The Visitor. I'm confident that my story is completely different to the stories cited, but I can't deny that they did have an influence on me. Of course, I was also strongly influenced by "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" by Robert Heinlein, "Terminator 2", "Blade Runner", "Red Dwarf", the original "Stepford Wives", and "Gregory's Girl", as well as the original BtVS concept.
Well, having done that (hopefully totally unnecessary, but I was feeling a bit paranoid) unburdening, I'll get on with some productive writing.
I leave you with this notice; the Roxyverse stories that I keep trying to persuade you to read include some by my wife and they are hot. She's much better at writing porn than me; I tend to fade to black a bit, whereas she can write stuff that has to be kept in lead-lined cabinets under thirty feet of iced water. Even then you can track it by the trail of copulating penguins.