1. Soodanim
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    Soodanim Member

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    Nagging feeling of deja vu

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Soodanim, Jan 22, 2013.

    I just wrote something I had intended on using to enter the short story writing competition on this site. It is original. I wrote it. I only thought up the concept a few hours ago and just now finished writing it all out. Roughly just under 3,000 words. I think it's a good story.

    There's just one problem.

    I can't shake this feeling that I've either written something similar before or that I've read it by someone else before. I cannot for the life of me remember if this is the case or even whether it was me or someone else who wrote something similar. But now I have this nagging feeling of deja vu and I'm wondering whether I should even bother to submit it.

    There's no way for me to find out if someone did this before me or if it's my original content. I mean, what would you look for? All the short stories I've read in the last thirty odd years by a hundred authors? I wouldn't even know what to put in as search terms.

    It's entirely possible that this is just paranoia. But the 'what if' scenario can't help but to continue to play out in my head. The inside of my head is an extremely annoying place at times.

    What would you do if you were in a similar situation? Have you ever been in such a situation?
     
  2. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Whatever it is, it's been done before. If your story is about a midget bringing a magical necklace back to the Lake of a Thousand Fires, thats fine. Concepts will be similar to a hundred other stories out there. As long as you didn't copy word-for-word or exact places and names, then you're fine.

    Not really a problem.

    My last entry into the contest was about two dudes getting ambushed by zombies while scavenging for weapons and food. Tell me that hasn't been done. But I did it JJ's way, and that has NEVER been done before.

    ~ J. J.
     
  3. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Holy crap! I thought I was the only one who had that.

    While we're on that subject, anyone ever look at a car and see a face?
     
  4. Soodanim
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    Soodanim Member

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    I once imprinted my face on a car. My head bounced off it as I was hurling through the air and my motorbike was twisting my leg and smashing it into pieces. So that may be the face you saw.
     
  5. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Even if you had read something similar in the past, you won't have memorized it word for word (if your memory was that good you'd remember If/where/when you read it)

    Try to stop worrying and go for it.
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just to correct a potential misconception, avoiding plagiarism is not as simple as not writing someone else's work "word for word" or not using the same places, names, etc. as the original story. If it is clear that your story is, "essentially" copying someone else's work, and if it can be shown that you had access to or knowledge of that work, then, regardless of whether it is intentional or not, it could be considered plagiarism.

    Say you were at a friend's house and someone was watching a movie in the same room. You might have been subliminally absorbing the story idea and a few weeks later you think, "I've got a great idea for a story!" In the back of your mind, the story you were inadvertently exposed to had been gestating until you "thought" of it. Now, you might take just the gist of that story idea, take it in a new direction, and make a completely different story based on that original concept... OR you might rewrite it as your mind recalls it, essentially the same story. Did you do it deliberately? No. Of course not. But the end result is the same.

    But, if you want to find out if your story is "out there", you might want to post a bit of it here to see if it shows up.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    posting a bit won't help, as that will only let him know if that particular bit has appeared anywhere else...
     
  8. Soodanim
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    Soodanim Member

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    I decided to go ahead and post it. If it turns out that I'm just recalling some concept that someone else has written then I'll withdraw it.

    My memory is crap due to a life-long sleep disorder. So I won't exactly feel guilty. And if I do, I'll just forget I did after a few days anyway.
     

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