1. MarchOfMephisto
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    MarchOfMephisto Member

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    Great storyline...already done?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MarchOfMephisto, Nov 17, 2010.

    I was on a roll the other day and managed to come up with what I thought was the best plot I have ever come up with. So I write it all down and produce it proudly to my boyfriend...who then points out that it is exactly the same as a plotline that we had watched on TV a while back.

    Has anyone else had this problem before? Come up with what is thought of as a great storyline only to realise it has been done exactly the same before? If so, what did you do? Did you continue to write the story or did you just leave it?

    - Phoebe =]
     
  2. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Avatar ripped off Dances With Wolves and did pretty well >_>

    If you get the feeling that your "inspiration" may have just been remembering the show, then probably not a good idea.

    If you feel that you can develop your own personal twist on the plot (a plot by itself is worth nothing, ref. Cogito) then by all means.
     
  3. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    And fern gulley and Pocahontas and..... Yeah, Avatar ripped off many other storylines, and big ones at that. It may be the same plot but there are only so many basic human stories, it's just in how we tell them.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I rip off stories all the time lol

    I know I have Dr Who, Torchwood, He-Man, a documentary of St Kilda, Arthurian legends, Ghibli films and a load of others in my stories :) I have taken out the give me light beyond light (Thundercats give me sight beyond sight) - but there is a distinct Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle reference in my books lol Last of the Summer Wine gave me my Three Wise Ghosts. Sprout and the God Box by way of literature a nod to Little Men is in there - shall i keep going :) I have given up even pretending any new idea is mine lol Oh there is a variety of religions involved as well. My first story even had a Care Bear Stare in the first draft (my serious exorcism scene supposed to be scary was described as such by my ever loving husband). Oh also I can see a distinct Hardy Boys link too - the brothers have similarities to Frank and Joe. I am sure there are many, many others in my stories.
     
  5. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    We've all taken a little something from here and a little something from there, but the main point is what Sasha said: It may be the same plot but there are only so many basic human stories, it's just in how we tell them.

    Basic plots have surfaced so many times in literature that they have nicknames for them. It's how you tell and write is what separates your story from the rest. I have been working on a time-travel novel. Now, think of the hours I've spent agonizing over details so that it doesn't sound like Back to the Future or The Time Machine or any similar episode from Star Trek. Just give yourself some time. :)
     
  6. Jones6192
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    Jones6192 Member

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    You ought to check out TV Tropes.org. It's a site which lists a bunch of commonly used story ideas and concepts. It's very helpful for beginning writers, and is also an absolute blast to read because it is written in a very casual, jokey attitude. Since I'm such a nice guy, I'll give a link below.

    Enjoy yourself!
     
  7. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ooh ooh, don't mind if I do.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Nooooooo You did NOT do that!

    I have been known to vanish into that website for 10 hours at a time, forgetting to eat and sleep or do my work... :/
     
  9. Tessie
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    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

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    I popped my head back in at WF just to tell Jonesy, "Thank you for the link!" But I'm going back to Tropes right now. Love it. See you tomorrow, I guess.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    give any 10 writers the same plot and no two will come up with the same book!

    go ahead and write what you want and wait till it's done before you bemoan its being a clone of anything else... odds are it won't be...
     
  11. Indivisible
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    Indivisible Member

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    I totally agree. Every person has their own unique outlook, inspirations, experiences, and methods that will invariably produce something unique, in its own right. Don't get put off by something that sounds similar in concept, or plot structure, to something else. As of today, there is RARELY anything that has an original concept, theme, or general idea. Almost everything is just an old story retold differently. So yes, don't get put off if you feel inspired.

    Right now I'm writing a story kinda of like the matrix, but that whole virtual reality, man connected to a computer system, has been done before, but mine is a different spin. So yes keep writing.
     
  12. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    I have this kind of retroactive, time-traveller-y timey-wimey sixth sense that my ideas have been stolen... the one that sticks furthest out in my mind is a novel I wrote, when I was young, about a demented prince and his adventures. It was a hefty 177,052 words long, and I always meant to dig it out and edit it... many years later I learnt about a BBC production called Gormenghast, certain elements of which were jaw-droppingly similar to my fiercely defended story - although that had been created in about '94 I think, and based on a book written even earlier, I had written my book much later but with absolutely no knowledge it even existed. There was a clock chiming, my heartily disliked prince, the style of it was just as gothic and demented as I imagined, there was even a scheming kitchen boy... had I tapped into some weird timey-wimey creative stream? Had I watched Gormenghast as a tiny child, and it had fed into my subconscious? Or was it a massive coincidence?!?

    Point is, I haven't ripped up my story. My fourteen year old self had still written it so it was very distinguishable (but ultimately inferior... *grumble*...) to the star-studded series, and I think if I ever did go back to it (I hope I will), I'll watch my massive two-pack VHS of it and be able to make even more significant changes. It certainly is not what you write, but how you write it, and everyone will write the same story differently - and the best part is, like mine, after a certain amount of time, if you really are uncomfortable with your material, it gets so much easier to go in and change bits and improve your text no end. :)
     
  13. Jones6192
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    Jones6192 Member

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    Glad to see another one succumb to the hypnotizing magic of that site...:D
     
  14. miss_darcy
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    miss_darcy Member

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    Yes, many things can be rip offs from others, but really what isn't? We're going into year 2011 soon and you can't tell me that there will be a completely original storyline. It's nearly impossible nowadays to come up with something completely original. The way that you make it your own is putting your own twist on it. Say you're adapting from the fairytale "Little Red Riding Hood" and J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" (not quite sure how that would turn out, just an example though haha). But you have to make the two come together and make it your own through your characters, your plot, your sub-plots, your setting, and all the other essentials to making a great story. That's how you make a piece of work your own, by putting your own creative spin on it. Let's say that before Twilight became popular, I wrote a series of books about a teenage girl falling in love with a vampire. The books would not be written the same because I have a different creative style from Stephenie Meyer does.

    I think I'm rambling now though and I'm pretty sure I made my point lol so I'll stop rambling haha
     
  15. Darkrose757
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    Darkrose757 New Member

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  16. Jaybrownuk
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    Jaybrownuk Member

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    I think it's getting increasingly hard to come up with something that is pure originality in the sense that it hasn't been inspired by anything in the slightest. I once came up with an idea that was a lot like "American Beauty" and eventually scrapped it.
     
  17. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    Writers make the greatest thieves. Use this to your advantage. Take a story idea, or two, or ten, and meld them into something original. Naysayers and critical critics will say that it's hogwash, but that all depends on how you present it. As others have said, Avatar ripped off of everything, but before most of the critics had anything to say about it, Cameron dangled amazing special effects in from of them like shiny keys.
     
  18. Noya Desherbanté
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    Noya Desherbanté Senior Member

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    I too thought that about Avatar - but I wasn't impressed with the shiny FX. I was more like 'Heh. They're blue. I like Smurfs.' :-D

    This has just reminded me of something, that I've heard from a few places that publishers - and movie directors - sometimes like the fact that you may be twisting someone else's ideas. Insomuch as, they like to hear phrases such as 'this new blockbuster is Karate Kid meets Titanic' or 'imagine King Kong... aboard the Starship Enterprise'. I don't know about anyone else, but that would make me want to read the book - and there's no doubt that a melding of any of those ideas would be, ahem, original...
     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that one would cover about a third of the original Star Trek episodes, actually :)
     
  20. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    You monster! Must... resist... TVtropes!!! Reminds me of a great comic thing though. I can read that site for hours.

    If you have thought of it, chances are someone already has. Someone has probably taken a similar plot and theme and published a book. There are so many basic storylines. It comes down to how you tell it.
     

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