Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hey, That's My Idea

Adam over at Author's Echo has a post about stealing ideas.  He says you can't NOT steal ideas.  As far as it goes he's right.  Ever heard the story where a boy and a girl fall in love despite the fact that they come from different worlds and their parents are against it?  Yea, that's just about every book from Romeo and Juliet to Twilight.

We write about human emotions, ideals, dreams and anguish.  There's bound to be some overlapping.  Authors interpretations are what makes the ideas special.

Still, I know of writers who were in the middle of a story and came across an already published book (or movie) that was so similar to theirs they stopped writing it.  It happens.  I've read some books that were so similar I wondered if the authors were related or if one of them was "influenced" by the other.  Actually, there's a few of those I'll be wondering about into the next life.  And it does make me worry some as I write.  What if I'm not unique enough?  I'm not worried enough to stop writing.  I did however, do checks on amazon and the library to see if I could see anything like what I was writing.  Well, agents do say to know your field....

Has this ever happened to you?  Do you worry about it? 


31 comments:

  1. There's nothing new under the sun, Sara. That's why there are broad archetypes that all stories fall under. Each of us brings our own perspective and experiences to the base story and they grow into something new. I don't think you have anything to worry about with your WIPs. ; )

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    1. I think it's fun to read all the retellings of stories or fairy tells and see how each author saw the situation. Sometimes I go on a bender and immerse myself just to see all the nuances and differences in different books of the same story.

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  2. Yes, I worry about it because my book is sort of meant to be a newer idea, and I don't want anyone else to think of it. So much so that I rarely talk about it on the blogosphere (like right now :)

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    1. Good avoidance. :) Good luck, I hope you never have the problem arise. Until you're published and everyone is copying you, that is.

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  3. It hasn't happened yet, but I'm always nervous when I read the premise of a book and it deals with a similar topic to mine.

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    1. One thing I worry about is that the market will be saturated with stories in the same genre and they just won't be interested.

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  4. That has happened to me, unfortunately. There's one particular author who I believe I share a mind with. I think up story lines and they show up in her next book. It's frustrating! But I think there will always be books that are similar to others. How would we know what to write about if we hadn't heard it from someplace anyway? (Unless you're a total genius. In that case, props to you!) I wouldn't worry about it too much.

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    1. Yikes, sorry it's happened. That's interesting that it has happened several times with the same author.

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  5. After all that's been written, it IS incredibly hard to be unique, and I have heard of writers quit writing a story or not query a novel because they discovered something similar to theirs. Heart-wrenching. I'm well read in my area--middle grade--but I do still worry about my work not being unique enough.

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    1. It happens. I guess that's one of the possibilities we have to learn to live with as writers.

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  6. It has not happened to me, but my crit partner has had this unpleasant experience. It was eerie, the MC even had the same name. If I hadn't known my friend for so long, and her story, I wouldn't have believed it. It seems to happen more with YA authors - thankfully I write for MG readers!

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    1. The same name? That is eerie. There are A LOT of YA authors, I wonder if that's why it seems to happen more with them.

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  7. Sara, I know we've had this discussion over at Books and Writers. The idea can be the same, but how it is written is different. Think of the classic Cinderella story...based on Romeo and Juliet as most romances tend to be. The archetypes are the same. Now seeing the same dialogue, scenes, etc is another story.

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    1. Well, there have been a few where I see the same scenes, dialogue, characters, etc. Sometimes it's to close to be natural, sometimes they're just enough different to know they both think the same but didn't copy. Either way a publisher will most likely reject it.

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  8. yes..it is like I have already seen every chick flick that will ever be made in the future...
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

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    1. Some genre's overlap more than others. :) Thanks for stopping by, I'm on my way over to your blog.

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  9. The one thing I try not to do is read fiction set in the time period I find myself writing it - research books are okay, but no novels!

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    1. I find it interesting how some people will not read or only read novels in their genres while writing. It doesn't really affect me (Maybe because I never know what genre I'm writing) so for a long time I didn't realize people would do this.

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  10. Yes, I worry about it but have to remember that it's my story and it will be greatly different than any other person can put there twist on it. Anyway, HI!

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  11. YES! And it happened not too long ago. Last year a friend of mine suggested I read a book that had just been published and was gaining a lot of attention. I put it off for a few months but finally picked it up. It was so similar to my wip, (names of places, characters, events) that I felt like I HAD to change my ending and did. I was so frustrated at first but in a way I'm glad it happened. It forced me to stretch my imagination a bit more and I feel my ending is stronger for it now. Well, that's my 2c!

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    1. Sorry that happened but I'm glad you were able to turn it into something positive.

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  12. I hope my story is unique, but I'm sure there is someone out there writing something similar. In fact, another blogger pointed one out to me, but I couldn't find any published work by her.
    I actually get turned off by not movies that come out around the same time and it's the same story, different actors. With books, I guess I don't mind so much because the writer can give a story such a different voice that it still feels different. I'm sure you'll be fine. :)

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    1. It does happen quite a bit with movies, doesn't it? I think your story sounds amazing and since you have your experiences to help you write it it should be unique.

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  13. Fascinating post! I've heard horror stories, but this is something I'm not too afraid of--and I'm pretty open on my blog about my projects and such! I guess I just have to trust in the fact that I'm the only one who can tell *my* story, and no one else can create the magic that I'm wanting to create. ;)

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    1. That's a cool way of looking at it, that we each have our own individual magic.

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  14. It has happened to me and lots of other writers I know, too! Not so much in terms of deliberately stealing, but coincidences with similar storylines.

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    1. Oh, yes, I believe most of them are coincidences. I know there are horrible people out there that do steal stories and writing but I tend to believe most of them are just working hard telling their stories.

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  15. I was just talking about this with someone. It is almost impossible not to have a similar idea, but it really is our own experiences and who we are that makes the story different and unique.

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  16. Hasn't happened to me yet (since I'm writing my first novel now) but I've read quite a few books that seem so similar (especially in the YA dystopia genre). But like others said, there is enough in the books to make them different. I know if I was writing a book and then one came out that was very similar I'd feel compelled to make huge changes in my manuscript.

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