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Idea vs Execution -OR- Hey, that was my idea first!
Bradley
Posted: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 7:33 PM
Joined: 2/28/2011
Posts: 18


I've been kicking an idea around for a while and the other day sat down with a coworker and basically fleshed the high concept out into a three act structure and even started putting scenes together. 

I let the plot sit (well, life forced the plot to sit) and today I discovered a book that matches the high concept exactly, and most of the plot is eerily similar. 

I know I'm not alone in this situation, so I figured I'd toss this out to the community. Do I blame time traveling plot thieves? Do I write the book anyway? What would you do? Or, more closely, what have you done?

Alexander Hollins
Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2011 10:42 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416


I have notes on all my ideas, with dates. So i would write it anyways.
cameronchapman
Posted: Monday, May 9, 2011 2:27 PM
Joined: 3/14/2011
Posts: 51


Think about how your idea can be done differently than the book that's already been written. Change the gender of your protagonist. Change the setting. Change the motivation. In all honesty, you could probably look at just about any book out there and find another book that has eerie similarities. There are only so many ideas out there, and there's bound to be a lot of overlap. But it's easy enough to make significant changes that make the idea your own and that set it apart from the already-published work.
Jasmine Syms
Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 5:55 PM
Joined: 11/19/2011
Posts: 7


Well, if it was a time  traveller and you didn't continue writing, he would never get the idea and we would be sent into a paradox. So write the book.
And many books have similar ideas. They are just written from a different author, which changes the outcome and will make your book very different from that one.
Yes this has happened to me and I get a little upset, but definitely not discouraged.

LeeAnna Holt
Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 7:58 PM
Joined: 4/30/2011
Posts: 662


There was this guy once named Jung, and he talked about this thing called collective consciousness.

Okay, I'll be serious. Like everyone has said, many things are similar in some way. How often do we see the story about the farm boy who grows up to save a galaxy (or just the Earth)? How often do we see some magical item as the cause to a problem? You just need to make it your own through presentation. Its all about how you twist it. Write your thing anyway, and you may find that your characters are what make it original.
Jay Greenstein
Posted: Monday, November 21, 2011 9:55 PM
According to Mark Twain, the last original storyteller was Adam.

When I had my manuscript critiquing business I used to offer my clients an exercise. They were to create a thousand word scene, written in first person. They had to use the em-dash and ellipsis in both their most common usages, and show the character’s thoughts and reactions to the situation. The setup was always the same: Two people are having a meal in some sort of eatery. The conversation results in the secondary character betting the protagonist that she or he will not have the nerve to talk to a specific stranger and ask for a kiss.

I left gender of all characters up to the writer. The character could approach the “victim,” or it could go the other way. The kiss could be given or not given. And the ending, and the response of the one selected for the request was up to the writer.

The scene was pretty much the same, yet I got not one story that was like another, in more than a dozen stories, in spite of the stories all having the same basic plot, other then the ending.

My point is that your story won’t read like the one you found because you don’t have the same voice. Think of how many times a year Cinderella is retold. The plot is that the protagonist is a deserving person but is kept from achieving their heart’s desire, even though fully qualified and deserving. But then, an external benefactor offers assistance and the story resolves

It’s the plot of the movie Flash Dance. It’s Harry Potter and a host of others.

That story you mentioned will be on the shelves for about two months. Next year there will be room for yours.























According to Mark Twain, the last original storyteller was
Adam.



When I had my manuscript critiquing business I used to offer my clients an
exercise. They were to create a thousand word scene, written in first person.
They had to use the em-dash and ellipsis in both their most common usages, and
show the character’s thoughts and reactions to the situation. The setup was
always the same: Two people are having a meal in some sort of eatery. The
conversation results in the secondary character betting the protagonist that
she or he will not have the nerve to talk to a specific stranger and ask for a
kiss.



I left gender of all characters up to the writer. The character could approach
the “victim,” or it could go the other way. The kiss could be given or not
given. And the ending, and the response of the one selected for the request was
up to the writer.



The scene was pretty much the same, yet I got not one story that was like
another, in more than a dozen stories, in spite of the stories all having the
same basic plot, other then the ending.



My point is that your story won’t read like the one you found because you don’t
have the same voice. Think of how many times a year Cinderella is retold. The
plot is that the protagonist is a deserving person but is kept from achieving their
heart’s desire, even though fully qualified and deserving. But then, an
external benefactor offers assistance and the story resolves



It’s the plot of the movie Flash Dance. It’s Harry Potter and a host of others.



That story you mentioned will be on the shelves for about two months. Next year
there will be room for yours.










 

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