1. psyborg
    Offline

    psyborg New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    At what point does an idea become original?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by psyborg, Jul 20, 2007.

    I have been trying to start writing for a long time, but every idea I get either is first inspired by, or sometimes, directly related to, things I've seen before. I mean I've had ideas that take place in the Star Wars universe, and Wing Commander, and Vampire: The Masquerade (or vampires, in general), etc. My wife makes fun of me, and says I can't come up with an original idea. So, at what point is a previous concept original, or is there such a thing? For example, is it possible to write a story that has vampires in it (or robots, space travel, etc.) without it being a rip-off of an already-published story?
    Thanks for any help you can offer.
     
  2. adamant
    Offline

    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    1,087
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    The Comatorium
    I think it's safe to say that just about every idea anyone has ever had was inspired by something. Sure, there will be some similarities, but it is very possible to create a deviant work. It's somewhat hard to see what you believe you're copying, so could you give me some better examples, and I'll try to help you steer further from the origin.

    (Also, reading/watching many things can help. This would allow your brain to draw from numerous sources, removing your story further from that which inspired it.)
     
  3. psyborg
    Offline

    psyborg New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    At this point, I have a whole slew of stories, some of which are actually set within other stories (i.e. a Vampire: The Masquerade story) and some of which are just drawn from some of the things I liked from other stories. I came up with one idea years ago, which I've always loved, but every time I try to work on it, it just sounds like really cheesy young adult science fiction. But that story has roots in everything from Robocop and the Terminator to Short Circuit, and even a little nod to Edward Scissorhands...
    I don't know if I can ever write that one, though. When I think about it now, it just sounds like a children's story... a B-rate one.
     
  4. adamant
    Offline

    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    1,087
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    The Comatorium
    The theme and tone can change the child-like nature of the story.

    What you've given me didn't inform me a whole lot, but I guess I can still try to give some advice. The point of writing isn't necessarily to be completely original - should I stop wearing underwear because someone else is doing it? - it's to effectively convey a story. That being said, you don't want to completely take someone else's universe. One thing I can suggest is focusing on making your characters different -- making them want something else; coming from a different background.

    EDIT: Add your own technology, planets, organisms, et cetera to give it your own spin as well.
     
  5. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    How many authors do you know of who have written a story with a new idea? Most of the greatest works of fiction in history are based on stories as old as time. But how the writer tells the story is what makes one work a masterpiece and another a hack.
     
  6. psyborg
    Offline

    psyborg New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, I think I've got it. I appreciate your inputs. It has been of great help to me.
    I will keep you updated, and will submit the beginnings of it, as it takes shape.
    Thank you.
     
  7. mypensmysoul
    Offline

    mypensmysoul Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    The U.S. of A.
    I realize you said you understood what many of us were saying, but I felt like I had to add in my two cents. ;)

    Every story I've ever written was always inspired by someone or something in my life. What I will do is I will tweak the characters' personalities and branch off into a "what if this had happened?" thing.

    Something I also like to do is to find songs that tell a story. (i.e. -Evanescence's "I Must Be Dreaming.") I will then delve into that storyline and create characters, settings and alter the plot ever so slightly. I usually use this method if I am in a 'block.'

    What really makes an idea 'original' is how you take an idea and make it yours. As long as you don't write something like a sequel, or god forbid a fan fic (never. ever.), I would consider it an original idea. (While your sequals or fanfiction might be your own, words, the basic idea, while not necessarily the plot, is still the original author's.)

    I hope I helped! :)
     
  8. Budhabee
    Offline

    Budhabee Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Right now in Grand Junction, Colo.
    Hi Psyborg,
    Think of all the books that have been written on vampires. All of them taking off in different directions from the basic concept. Hmmmmmm. Also maybe tell the wife that many ideas come from other ideas. Its where you take them that counts. Good Luck
     
  9. Aleque
    Offline

    Aleque Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    I don't think you can make something 100% original. Every good artist always "steal" some idea and make it their own.. in a good way ofcourse :)
     
  10. Kizmet
    Offline

    Kizmet New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Everything we know is based upon what we've seen, heard, etc. Are there any truly original ideas? I've been told that there exist only 29 original plot lines. Don't worry about the numbers, if it's 25 or if it's 35 or if it's 1005, it doesn't matter. The point is the same. There is a finite number On the other hand, there ARE original people. You never existed before and neither did I. If you write your stories based upon people (not ideas) then you will never lack for originality. In my opinion, if a story is not about a person (define that as you will) then you have lost me as a reader. Thanks.
     
  11. SnipSnap
    Offline

    SnipSnap Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2007
    Messages:
    410
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Clinton, Illinois
    I've just gotten over the fact that my ideas aren't original initally. What it takes to get started is to understand that your first work will not be entirely original [nor will your second or third, or one hundreth and seventy-sixth, just in case Stephen King is reading this] What it takes is to sit and start writing a story w/o stopping and worrying, "Is this original enough?" or "I don't like this part; I'll go back and change it. In the meantime, I'll worry about how I'll end this story, thus getting completely sidetracked from chapter 7."
     
  12. Heather Louise
    Offline

    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    32
    I must have missed this thread so sorry I am so late, lol.

    yea, I do that all the time. Nearly every idea I get is in relation to something I have seen, or some music I have listened to or a book I have recently read. I mean, the story line and stuff are completely different, but I cannot help feeling like I am plagiarising because it is about similar things.

    well yea, I mean for example, J.K.Rowling wrote about witches and wizards and stuff like that, things that have been done over and over and over again, and yet we see her books as being completely original. Because, at the end of the day, the storyline is completely different. I think the story’s originality comes from the plot and what happens, not what it is about if you understand what I mean.

    I hope this helps anyways, and yea, I know what you mean ‘cos I have the same problem with almost everything I write. I am writing something at the moment about witches and wizards and vampires and stuff, and although it has been done millions of times before, I feel like I am copying of J.K.Rowling. It is stupid really, and just something you have to think to yourself, “My work sounds nothing like that. The story is different, the characters, the setting, the style, everything is different.”

    Heather
     
  13. missupernatural
    Offline

    missupernatural Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Victoria, Australia
    x

    You're idea won't be original.

    But think about it this way...

    Try writing about a character off a TV show or movie. If you posted it on a fan fic forum, sure, people would think it sounded like the actual character.

    But then write about that character again, not mentioning who they are or any specific details that are a dead giveaway to that character (eg location, specific quirks, type of car driven etc.), and show it to a friend. Chances are they wouldn't know who the character was (as long as you don't write about a show they obviously know you're obsessed about;)).

    Whatever you write is stolen from somewhere. You may have heard a particular saying from your parents when you were 4 years old and use it...
     
  14. B-Gas
    Offline

    B-Gas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2007
    Messages:
    330
    Likes Received:
    14
    Food for thought:

    Even most of the things we take for granted were borrowed from somewhere else. Superman was a rip-off of an old comic called Gladiator, mixed with a touch of nearly every other comic that was currently on the market. Flash was ripped-off from the previous generation's Flash, who drew his inspiration from Mercury (roman god), who was, in turn, based on Hermes (greek god). Roland the Gunslinger from the Dark Tower series by Stephen King was lifted body and soul from a poem: "Childe Rowland to the Dark Tower Come," a fact he whole-heartedly admits, even to the point of putting it into his story here and there.

    And the thing to remember is that unless you meticulously went through an established peice and changed the names and every other verb, or remembered the plot of something and thought, "Ah, no-one'll ever notice", then you probably are fine in terms of originality.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. trailer trash
    Offline

    trailer trash Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    United States
    Keep in mind that ideas ....

    All of you are absolutely right. Even the most successful authors will tell you more or less the same thing. So just go ahead and step beyond this pitfall. Please do not allow it to encumber your writing any longer. Of course, it is critically important that you maintain a close check on your project to see that you are not in fact borrowing too much from another author’s story -- unconsciously. Plotting methods can help you avoid this pitfall.

    Keep in mind also, that ideas may be sparked from a single word, picture or voice you here on the subway or in your favorite restaurant; but in fact they are either consciously or subconsciously at some point based on a similar plot, theme, or idea that you are aware.

    For those writers that are always questioning their own ability at originality you must be careful. You may never finish anything with this kind of thinking. Your genuine idea may grow out of something pure, but may in the end find itself only bland and dated if you continue this kind of thinking. So please get beyond this way of thinking as fast as you can -- like right now!


    Thanks for the opportunity to post,

    Trailer Trash
     

Share This Page