1. brutemaw
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    brutemaw New Member

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    I know for a fact I'm being original.

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by brutemaw, Mar 17, 2016.

    I think the main problem a lot of aspiring writers have is that they don't feel as if they're doing something original, or someone says "it sound like [insert title here]". And recently I ran into that wall, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. The person who told me that my collective journals of study on mythical creatures from the viewpoint of a character reminded them of Fantastic Beasts, did express that the book was an encyclopedia (how a movie was made from it, I have no idea)-- and my idea was more insightful to someone's personal experience with fauns, harpies, centaurs, etc.

    While I have my own explicit opinions on Rowling's writing as a whole, I know that I am doing something original. As I have written express entries about certain creatures from how I would believe them to be as their own creatures with social values, etc, I could go on for hours, days maybe.

    Anyway, has anybody ever run into this wall when writing fantasy? There are so many books and movies about certain vampires and supernatural creatures, and they all run on some line of familiarity when it comes to their behavior, habits, and how to kill them. Do you go with your gut or take to those similarities? Do you make up your featuring habits and looks to your creatures?
     
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  2. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Do whatever is interesting/entertaining/emotive/evocative to you. Avoid being too similar but know there's only so far away you can stray off singular concepts. It's the overall mesh and it's nuances that make it original. That's my amateur thoughts at least.:superthink:
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2016
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Given the volume of work out there, I don't waste time worrying about originality and whether things have been done before. Go with what you feel passionate about.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I never worry if the props on my stage have been used somewhere else in some other story. I take it for granted that there is nothing new under the sun. I worry only about what I'm trying to say with those props and the actors making use of them.
     
  5. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Yes. I wasn't trying to be original though, I was trying to be entertaining. My whole project is a mess now, so I can offer no advice, save to say, yes it happens.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Hi @brutemaw, welcome to the forum. I think my story is quite original given the current trends. I just hope I can create a rich enough world to tell it in. But I can't help you because there are no magical creatures in my story, no magic, no time travel or AI robots. Just raw human nature and where we might be heading in the information age.
     
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  7. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Brute,

    Here's the other side of the equation. A few years ago to split an absolute I wrote one of the most original sci fi books out there - the Man Who Wasn't Anders Voss. It's based upon the concept of the Star Trek transporter and the twins paradox, and essentially poses the simple question - what happens if a transporter kills the original person who steps in one end and creates a completely new person at the other end with the memories etc of the original?

    This as far as I can tell has never been turned into a story before. And based on my experience it never will be again!

    Anders Voss is my absolute worst selling book by miles, selling only a handful of copies a month.

    People don't want original. They want a somewhat new edge to an established trope. So write your wizards and their powers and various established mythological critters. Add a few tweaks to them. But don't try to turn them into something complete unrecognisable to readers. They simply won't like it.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Want to know how many works of Shakespeare are completely original? Out of 36, four. Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Tempest. Everything else was either based on an already existing work, was a sequel, or based on recent history. The plot to Othello was downright stolen, Romeo and Juliet was based on a work 50 years previous called The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet, and Hamlet was a two century old legend.

    One of the greatest contributors to the English language could only come up with an original play 1/9th of the time, and he's just the start. Orwell stole the plot of 1984. Tolkien stole the everything from Wagner, who stole it from myth. And I could list a dozen series, printed before Harry Potter, that follow a regular child who accidentally learns about magic; and two of them are by John Belairs!

    "The good artists immitate. The great artists steal" ~Pablo Picasso
     
  9. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Aren't they the same person? Same body, same memories, same identity presumably. Who cares if one body was destroyed if the consciousness lives on in the same body?
    And I consider something based on a fandom to be just as original as something reworking tropes. As I said earlier in this thread, there are nuances. On an obvious level, "everything has been done" as they say, but on a lower level, nothing is ever done twice. There are usually a million small differences even in books that are fatally similar. So most books are quite original. But of course, you still shouldn't think of yourself as a genius ground-breaker, and originality is far from everything.
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's an interesting post. How does Anders Voss (which sounds interesting to me) differ from what readers usually buy from you? I'm wondering if maybe your established readership is used to something else from you (fantasy, or whatever) and that Anders Voss is a departure too far FOR THEM.

    If you think the story is up to standard and there's nothing wrong with the way it was written, maybe you need to market it to a different audience? If, for example, you normally write fantasy with wizards and such, maybe you should look for a sci-fi audience for this one instead?

    Have you received any feedback or reviews for Anders Voss? Might give you a clue as to what's holding it back.
     
  11. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    If I would think 'I want to write a book about [insert whatever you like]' then yes, I would probably suffer from lots of doubts. Maybe I wouldn't even start.

    However, each and every person is original, and currently I tell the story of four MC's. Or even more - have barely started in on my current WIP, 30k is 'just started', yes? ;).

    No two people, ever, are the same. So any world they reside in, any happenings which formed their characters and its sequences, are certainly original and will never be written by another person. Only by me, because these characters are sitting in MY brain. Not in anyone elses.

    And I just put their words down :D
     
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  12. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two films that leapt straight to mind, both of which I loved. OK, the first has two beings combined to make a new one, and the second has one person being split to make a "clone" of the original, so not an exact replica of the "dies in the transporter, reborn coming out" story that you wrote; but both tackle the problem of what do you do with a new life-form that "shouldn't" be here.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuvix
    One of the most thought-provoking episodes in Star Trek.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066053/
    Roger Moore's most thought-provoking film.
     
  13. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    People commonly say Suzanne Collins stole from Battle Royale but i don't think she even knew what it was at the time she was writing The Hunger Games. I think a few really close similarities are just by accident. I've came up with story ideas thinking it was original for years and find out it's already been done. You are right about your points but i just wanted to implement that scenario. Not all writers blatantly steal.
     
  14. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    I'm writing a vampire novel - there ain't anything original about that at all!
    There are so many books and movies about certain vampires and supernatural creatures, and they all run on some line of familiarity when it comes to their behavior, habits, and how to kill them.
    Do you go with your gut or take to those similarities?

    It was my intention to put a sort of different spin on the genre, saying that though I've read a lot of books and thought that certain bits contained similar to details that I've put in mine, it's vampires though so that's bound to be the case, but I still type away because I'm just concentrating on writing the story that I would want to read. There's zero magic, zero stakes to the heart and zero romance.

    Do you make up your featuring habits and looks to your creatures?
    Some features just had to stay like the blood drinking and personally I can't imagine them without the fangs or the eternal youth but I've tried to "science" my way out of it.

    For me I think you can take any trope or theme but it's what you do with the story that makes it original and gives it that edge. Like @Oscar Leigh said :

     
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  15. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi Oscar,

    Not wanting to derail the thread, but no. They aren't the same person. Even though they might be identical in every way. Consider Parfit's teletransporter paradox which is an upgrade of Reid's original question.

    Parfit describes a transporter much as I have where the new man arrives on Mars and the old one dies on Earth, and asks are they the same person. Then he modifies his thought experiment such that the original doesn't die and asks the obvious question. If I am here on Earth, am I also on Mars? Is that me?

    This is about identity - self identity, not legal etc.

    So I'll extend Parfit's question for you to answer. Now the machine creates two of you, both in the same room. Both with the same memories etc. Both thinking they are Oscar. But now there's a problem, only one person can survive, the other has to die for whatever reason. So a gun with one bullet was thoughtfully left in the room. You pick up the gun. Now do you shoot the other you in the head? Or yourself? Because if you claim that you are in fact the same person than you should be equally happy / unhappy doing either. Are you?

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This comes up again and again. Collins said her inspiration was Greek mythology's The Labyrinth and the Minotaur. I see no reason to doubt her.
     
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  17. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Did i say i doubted her? I don't, and i didn't, i like her a lot and i only used this point to insert truth from a different angle. How am i supposed to know it shows up again and again? I don't post here as often as most of y'all.
     
  18. David Tice
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    David Tice Member

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    I can completely relate to your struggles Brute, and like someone above me said, there is in fact nothing new under the sun even if it SEEMS new to you, but here's where you separate yourself: In the actual telling of the tale. There may be similarities in the characters or creatures involved but you will set yourself apart in how you write the story.

    While in prison I noticed a lot of the people around me falling in love with the Urban genre and couldn't see why when all of the stories seemed to circle around the same stuff: guns, drugs, sex scenes, murder etc... It got to the point where I felt like If you had read one Urban novel you had read them all and it wasn't until I read a book entitled "Dutch" by Teri Woods that my eyes were opened. Though it followed the same premise Teri seemed to tell the story in a way that was fresh and brand new which made her stand apart.

    Brute you wont always be original in this day and age even when you just thought something up while laying on your back in your bed, it hurts to be shot down for imitating someone else when you weren't even aware that this someone else even existed, but aside from casual readers who wont take more than a second to take in what they are reading before writing it off as a remix of something else, there are people out there who understand that often the differences in writing comes from the actual writing. Its sort of like how both Tom Brady and Tim Tebow play quarterback but there are little things Tom does that separates him from Tim. And its the little things that will separate your work from Rowlings.
     
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  19. BoddaGetta
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    BoddaGetta Active Member

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    I write what I want to read.

    Most things I read aren't groundbreaking new concepts, ideas, or characterization. It's the way they do it that counts.

    Rowling, LeGuin, and Pratchett all have wizard schools in castles. Comparisons are endless, and cause endless anxiety.

    So don't worry about it. Write what you want.
     
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  20. croak3r
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    croak3r Member

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    I dont worry too much about originality. Most things have been done before and you will just be limiting what your book can do.
    Most people wont care either as long as the book is good.
     
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  21. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I've read tons of books that used the same types of creatures in it. The fun part is the little odd variances the author injects into the story.
    Faith Hunter has a series with Vampires. Big deal. The origin story she gives vampires and the reason for their weaknesses is really different & interesting. I have no idea if it was original. But it was new to me.
    Her MC is actually something called a skinwalker (from Native American Lore)
    it's a very view than from Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series. and both are a different view of Skinwalker's than from another book I read ... which I can't recall the name of and it's driving me crazy at the moment.

    As long as you're changing something from the "norm" then your story will be original.
     
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  22. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It wasn't personal. I was just correcting the record.
     
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  23. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    It came off like you were chastising me. Sorry about that, i get attacked often on here and it's just instinct. My deepest condolences. I did that to Selbin on accident too, it's on me. No worries. :bigsmile:
     
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  24. IlaridaArch
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    IlaridaArch Active Member

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    Hell, you could write a story about wandering elf and make it into a best-seller. Elves so used, blah blah blah.

    Writing is like cooking. Same ingredients turn into different results with different chefs.
     
  25. SadStories
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    SadStories Member

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    ==Deleted post==

    Lost my train of thought, lol ...
     
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