When a writer first puts pen to paper, he or she is often unclear about how to carry on for hundreds of pages until the pen (typewriter, computer) is put aside. Some head off in one direction, then change course. More than a few go in circles, hoping to stumble on a plot, a unique niche.
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The problem is that established writers have found their niche and there is no credit for being a copycat. Yet similar isn't identical, the similarity being just that little bit different. Whether Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade are interchangeable is a moot question.
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