1. Wordflow
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    Wordflow New Member

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    Ever had an original idea, and someone else wrote it before you did?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Wordflow, Mar 22, 2013.

    Fortunately, this hasn't happened to me, but it was close. I have an idea for a sci-fi novel set on a recovering post-apocalyptic world. And recently, while watching tv, I saw a soda commercial with a marketing phrase that had the whole title of my novel! When I saw it, I totally jumped from my seat. It has nothing to do with my novel, but I felt it was just to close for comfort. It is really one of the things that pump and hype me up to write: Do it now before someone else does it first.

    Has this or something similar happened to you?

    Wordflow
     
  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Many, many times. But one could argue it wasn't original in the first place. I made a short film about a hiker getting his leg trapped and having to cut it off, and was pitching the feature film idea when 127 hours went into production. That killed mine dead. Yeah, it was based on a true story, but it hadn't been done.... yet.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It has happened to me a couple of times with songs. When I was in high school in the late 1970s, I wrote Phil Collins' "In The Air Tonight." Really. The whole melody, harmony, and the "O Lord" line. And I plunked it out on my guitar, sang it a few times, and decided it was a piece of crap, a terrible excuse for a song. I erased the tape I'd recorded it on, never played it for anybody, and generally buried it. Three or four years later I was driving and Collins came on the radio singing my terrible song. It turns out he had written the same song and liked it. It turned into an enormous hit for him.

    I could have been rich (yeah, right), but my taste is too good.

    The other song I wrote that someone else wrote too, and took to the top of the charts, was some piffle by a flash-in-the-pan named Nik Kershaw. I forget what he called it.
     
  4. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    The Sarcasm is strong with this one.

    Most impressive....
     
  5. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    Alot of my ideas in concept are unoriginal I just try to execute in an original way
     
  6. rodereve
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    rodereve Member

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    well,you know what they say, every idea has been thought of before :D i would say there's a lot of overlap of ideas and plots in stories, nothing is ever entirely original. but it could be two things

    1) you could have indirectly or subconsciously come across the song before, then came to the idea (thinking it was of your own accord), then met it again afterwards

    2) both of you came across the same idea at the same time lol
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    As Cog likes to say, and as BNL once sang, "It's all been done."
     
  8. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Very rarely does a completely original story that is actually good come to be nowadays. With the advent of online writing forums and workshops almost everything has been done at least once.
     
  9. Lokasenna
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    Lokasenna Member

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    I had a particularly hideous experience with this last year.

    I was sitting at my computer and working on my thesis, typing up my new interpretation and analysis of a specific passage in a specific poem, when I hear a knock at the door. It's the postman, with a package from Amazon. I sit down, and open it to find a new volume of essays, just published, which I had ordered. I flick it open to a random page, and find myself in the middle of an article by an eminent academic that is describing the EXACT same thing that I had just been typing. Now, to be fair, a lot of my research is an extension of his work, so I suppose it is to some extent natural that he would come to the same conclusions I have, but even so the timing of the revelation was depressing and frustrating.

    Never had it happen with fictional work, though.
     
  10. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    A lot of people come up with the same ideas - even the same phrases - at or about the same time. No big deal. I've come up with "amazing" titles for stories only to find they've been used a hundred times already. The thing is - the stories they went with were not the same as my story. Unless one is plagiarizing, every story will be unique, whether it has a similar plot or characters or even title as something else, and that's simply because every author is a unique individual, writing in their own unique way.

    So don't worry about it. Write it.
     
  11. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    Why invent a wheel when the ones we have work so well? I work in a similar fashion. It's not an uncommon notion that nothing is truly original, so why sweat over attaining the unattainable?... When it's all said and done; originality is an acid trip, and even that's been done to death... literally.

    My story, well, a couple of mates and I started working on a computer game. After a couple of weeks we discovered that there was already one out there, none of us had heard of (from germany), that appeared almost identical. After watching a couple of 'lets play' videos we realized it was completely different. Only the setting was similar. Keeping with the above theme, we continued working on it and it's coming along nicely.
     
  12. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    I have had that happen to me its not fun in fact it hurts.
     
  13. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Once - Charlotte Rogan's the Lifeboat.
    Only hers was set back in the 1800's and had a smaller cast.
    Mine was to be set after 9/11 for the paranoia.
    But both of us were probably ripping off Hitchcock so who cares. lol.
     
  14. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I wrote 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' when in Middle School..alas Philip K Dick found it and wrote it. Then Vonnegut learned of my idea for 'Slaughterhouse Five' and that was that...

    In all seriousness, I don't particularly worry about things like that, because the idea isn't what matters, it's how you write it, describe it and execute it that matters. I know in Science Fiction there isn't an idea out there that hasn't been done by someone before. How many alien invasion stories (uh hum...'The Host' ) have there been. Let's see 'Invasion' 'Puppetmasters' and the list goes on...

    Plus titles aren't copyrighted either. So, if it were me, I'd just keep writing and let 'er rip.
     
  15. Mot
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    Mot Member

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    When I was about five years old, I came up with the idea of socialism. I seriously thought I had come up with the answer to everyone's problems- everyone would provide services/goods and receive them in turn. Super easy world saving stuff, and no more kids starving in Africa.

    My parents used me as a sort of party trick (bring out the baby Marx) and let me find out on my own that my 'idea' wasn't going to work.

    I don't know if that makes me a genius, or socialism a childish concept.
     
  16. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Yes, plenty. But in all angst, you need to write the story in a way where you can make it you're own. Pretty much every idea has been done before, so it's recommended to focus on you're story profoundly and provisionally. Creating unique parts and additions to you're story will freshen what idea you are writing about. (Kind of like writing about Werewolves for example and putting a new spin on it by making them underwater serpents who find it against the rules to feast on human flesh unless it's in self defense.)

    See, that already captures my attention despite how much Werewolves have been used in the past. :)

    But just keep on writing, and add the spectacular glow to whatever you are writing about. Letting you're imagination shine is the greatest thing about being a writer.
     
  17. Dave Gregory
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    Dave Gregory Member

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    Not half!

    Time and time again, with music, plot devices, story ideas... I can see where paranoid schizophrenics get their ammo from - it's as if any time I get a decent idea, it goes out into the ether for others to pick up on.

    It's been worst with my current story, especially when the film The Host came out. The trailer alone uses several images and concepts from my own story, absolutely to-the-nail. Even the word 'host' was central to the hokum science I'm putting in. I've had to go back and change the matching plot components to something altogether less satisfying and substantial.

    Even a poster for a mortgage product recently nicked a core element of my story.

    Nyaaargh! I need a tinfoil hat!

    In all honesty, there's nothing original in the world, so I'm not too surprised by it. I think I'm just tuned to the zeitgeist, same as many other creative folk. If I don't get my ideas down quickly, others will beat me to it. The trick is to be ahead of the times or decades behind them, I suppose. But not too far behind, or you'll get caught up and drowned in a wave of trendy nostalgia.
     

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