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mark211'Hey! That's my story!' - that sinking feeling when someone else seems to have told your tale already?2016-12-04 02:44:01
mark211Thanks, as always, to all commenters in these threads - and from last week, thanks to Ironspider for making another great reading recommendation in the form of C. J. Cherryh's Chanur novels (see link here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chanur_novels) and of course to Rick Tornello's proposal for his Brechtian one act masterpiece, "Whine and Weasel Your Way to the top OR make Amerika Grape" ; - )2016-12-04 02:47:33
mark211So then - this week's topic is slightly whimsical. I'm basically asking if anyone has ever felt the frustration of having any story ideas apparently preempted by other writers or other producers. It doesn't mean of course that you cannot continue with writing your own version - it is still yours - but there is that horrible feeling that readers might consider something you came up with yourself as being wholly derivative or, if not derivate, at the very least inspired by other, more famous writers.2016-12-04 02:49:50
mark211To give you an example, for the last two or three years I have had kicking around in my folder the idea for a story in which several hundred human colonists are locked into deep hibernation as their ship treks across the galaxy to a new planet. During the journey, one of the hatches breaks open as the result of an accident and a single colonist finds herself awoken - but over a 150 years too early. My intention was that the bulk of the story would be the dilemma of loneliness faced by this woman, and the temptation to awaken someone from their sleep to join her - but how she realises that doing this would be cruel and so she eventually resigns herself to a lonely death. So then this week, I see on YouTube a trailer for the Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt movie 'Passengers' in which "two people ... awake, 90 years too soon, from an induced hibernation on board a spaceship bound for a new planet". Great. (You can see a trailer for it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BWWWQzTpNU).2016-12-04 02:57:20
mark211So in short, has anything like this ever happened to you? And does it really matter anyway? Countless Fantasy novels, for instance, take their cue either from LOTR or from Conan and both of those of course took their cues from, respectively, North European AngloSaxon myth and legend or from the wile tales of Empire of the kind H. Rider Haggard used to put out. So do you feel the anxiety of influence, or could you not care less? Let us know below.2016-12-04 03:00:04
RTYep. The first time I saw THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU I thought someone copied one of my stories, I was fuming really, until I saw the credits at the end of the movie at which point my wife said Philip Dick died and was transformed into me only not as crazy. I had never read much of his work up until then.2016-12-04 05:27:45
IronspiderI have so many story and world-building ideas, many that date from my initial writing phase back in my early twenties - so about thirty years. Many of these I'll probably never bring to fruition, others I don't feel that I can because elements of them have appeared as concepts, either in books I've now read or in films I've watched. Yes, I know that there are only supposed to be seven plots that cover the entirety of fiction and I guess it's inevitable that some of my early ideas would surface elsewhere. I've read enough fiction, science or otherwise to know that many concepts aren't unique (just how many names can you come up with for 'hyperspace') and many well-known writers cover similar ground as their contemporaries (ewoks are nowhere near as endearing as Fuzzies) and no-one comments. Maybe I shouldn't be put off so easily and should look upon it as the obvious consequence of a slow written output from an over-revving mental engine.2016-12-05 05:38:50
mark211The world of Rick Tornello seems ever more fantastical than the fictions you write!2016-12-05 12:21:53
mark211@Ironspider - Oh, I don't think anyone should ever be put off by it really - although there is that terrible nagging feeling that other people will see it as derivative even if you arrived at the same idea independently. Like as not, both/all writers who hit upon a similar idea have all been influenced to a greater or lesser degree by another source in any case. And it's not just in fiction this happens - Martin Luther was one of many making very similar arguments to his own before he nailed the 95 theses to the church doors; had Darwin died young and before publication, there are many who believe evolution was an idea whose time had come - and so would have surfaced at some point even had he not lived.2016-12-05 12:26:08
rt@spider and Mark. I have the same feeling too about some ideas. I feel as if its plagiarism or something similar. And I get similar time periods bring out similar ideas.

Mark just what do you mean? It's the truth. We went to an early showing on a weekday some years back. As I was watching the movie I said this is my story. Some SOB stole my story and modified it. I was really pissed. Then, as I mentioned, I saw the credits. I went out and purchased a bunch of old P. Dick short stories and read them.

My wife like to make fun of me when I get like that and this was a gift to her from the gods.

2016-12-05 16:17:31
Wesson (Parabellum Press)Some time ago I came up with a protagonist named Elza. By the time I finally started writing stories about her, Disney had already made the movie Frozen. Now they pretty much have a monopoly on the name "Elsa" and I feel like a copycat. 2016-12-05 22:09:25
Wesson (Parabellum Press)That aside, I think I have a pretty good shield against plagiarism. A fair chunk of my stories have elements that either refute or reject many of the liberal tropes found in fiction, movies, etc. Some of my stuff can be downright conservative at times, no regular SFF writer would want to touch them with a ten-foot pole.2016-12-05 22:11:17
RT@ Wesson, give examples and or send me a few short, flash examples. I'm interested even if I'm of a liberal mind and the product of a classical liberal education. RT2016-12-06 10:14:36
micheledutcherI wrote a story that had similar elements to the story Children of Men - which happened to show up on movie screens later that year, before I could get it published. So I waited. I was able to update and publish the story here in Quantum Muse - The Parcel. Of course I had never seen the story the Children of Men was taken from, it was just a coincidence that our stories were so similar...so I just waited. Besides the basic premise of women being unable to reproduce, my story had elements that made it a unique story...or at least I think so. 2016-12-06 10:19:51
micheledutcherNow I haven't read Anne Rice's new book about vampires in Atlantis - but that was certainly MY plot for the short story Heirs of Atlantis, published here in quantum Muse as a short story years ago, and published at Aphelion as a flash piece before that. Great Minds think alike...2016-12-06 10:21:44
GordonRowlinsonI think the problem is that ideas that are the basies of a great story tend to be already thought of before. I once had an idea of a scary rock band that had vampires as the musicians. I thought I had a clever and unique idea. But when I tried to sell it to cheap magazine, the editor wrote back and said that vampire rock bands were somewhat cliche. I should have wrote back I said that I had the idea first and everybody else stole it from me!2016-12-06 11:37:29

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