1. Space_Goose
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    Space_Goose Member

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    Ok, now I'm frustraited and wondering if I should bother

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Space_Goose, Aug 20, 2010.

    Hello,

    I haven't one the forums in awhile, I have been busy writing so just to refresh, I have been working on a space opera that I first came up with 10 years ago. I have been spending the last several months planning mainly the details and I am just about at the point where I was going to start writing.

    I was talking with a friend of mine a few weeks ago. This friend has been writing poems and short stories since he was young and I thought he might be able to give me some helpful suggestions or advice. I was going over my story with him, my main character and the general plot. When he finished, he looked at me and said, "Have you ever heard of Mass Effect?" I had not heard of it. It turns out; Mass Effect is an RPG video game for the PC and X-Box 360. My friend told that my story and plot sounded very, very similar to the storyline of the game. Now I have an X-Box 360 in my back room for sports games so I went out the very next day and purchased both Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. I have now beat Mass Effect and am about half way or more through Mass Effect 2 and I have to say that I am now very frustrated. If I were to describe to you what the story line of Mass Effect was about in one sentence or even one paragraph and then do the same for my story, you would be hard pressed to find a difference. Basically both are about a futuristic earth/human society who has joined the larger intergalactic community. The main of both centers around a now extinct highly advanced civilization that was whipped out under mysterious circumstances leaving behind only ruins and sparse artifacts which are being studied by scientist to learn more about them and their technology. Then also in both stories, what ever whipped out this advanced race are now happening again and the story centers around the main character and his team trying to find out what is happening and stop it before it is too late.

    Besides just the plot, a lot of the details I came up with are similar. In both stories, Earth has become a more of a planet wide government with colonies spread through out the Galaxy. The name I gave to this planet wide government is very similar to the name given in Mass Effect and also the counsel (kind of link the United Nations for the galactic races) is very similar.

    I was trying to write an scientifically plausible space opera and from researching Mass Effect, I know that they were trying to create a scientifically plausible Space RPG. So surely if we are trying to base future technology off of what is currently known, some things are bound be similar.

    If it were just a few things that matched, I probably would be too concerned but it is just so close.

    The only real differences in my story and Mass Effect, are the main character, his back ground (although both characters are Military or former Military) and the way Earth and humans see them selves in both stories and where they got this advanced technology to allow them travel to other solar systems.

    In Mass Effect, Humans discovered ruins of the ancient extent civilization on the south pole of Mars which they studied and got the technology from, then discovered that Charon, Pluto's moon was not a moon but in fact a giant relay station which allowed them to quickly travel to another star system.

    In my story, aliens have been visiting earth for thousands of years, some friendly, some not. Humanity managed to befriend one race and set up trade and exchange with them. This Alien race shared its Technology with us and bought us into the galactic community.

    In Mass Effect, humans are a people on the rise. They hold great favor with the galactic counsel and a lot of other people resent them for this fact but technology wise are the equals of everyone else in the Galaxy.

    In my story, humans are NOT the equals of everyone. We are the new comers and are probably the least technologically advanced of the space faring civilizations. The Alien race who did share technology with use, didn't tell use everything or share ALL of their technology because of that fact, in my story, Humans are not that well respected in the Galactic community. They are also very timid , afraid they are going to tick off one of the more advanced races. The alien race who shared its technology with humans is seen as kind of our big brother, our protectors. Before my story took place, the back story is humans got rapped up in a brutal war with a very aggressive advanced race and were losing very badly. These "big brothers stepped in and beat the aggressive race back defending earth. Because of that most alien races in my story look at humans like "with out them you are nothing" kind of attitude.

    The other difference is the technology used to travel to other stars, my stories does not use giant relay stations.

    Those appear to be the only differences however. I am just really frustrated because I would have to change so much of my story to make it different from Mass Effect that if I did, it wouldn't even be the same story anymore.

    What do you guys think? Should I even bother at this point?

    Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.

    And I apologize for any punctuation and spelling errors, I had a lot to say and not so long to say it.
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know the game, however I know what helped me was posting the various elements of my fantasy story first time round. I learned what seemed cliche and what wasn't

    I then rewrote my story taking out various elements and I now have a much better story not a generic one.

    Don't be afraid to change what you are doing if you think it will make a better story at the end.

    Are you still on the first draft if you are then your story will probably change drastically anyway.

    Don't ditch it use this to make it better and have new ideas.

    No story is 100% unique.
     
  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    This basic plot has been done before Mass Effect, and more than once. So I wouldn't worry about that aspect of it. You can write a unique and compelling story with that basic plot line.

    Given the popularity of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, you may want to change some names and other easily-altered elements of your story that are very similar to what Bioware did in Mass Effect. But apart from that, just concentrate on writing the best story you can.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. I can tell you now, it has all been done before. What matters is how you write it, the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.

    Please read this thread about What is Plot Creation and Development?

    The long and short of it is, don't worry if your story bears a similarity to something else. Tell a good story, and tell it well.
     
  5. stubeard
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    stubeard Active Member

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    I love that reply Cogito. I've seen it so much it's almost become like a friend to whom I feel I should nod a quick hello :)
     
  6. Bad_Valentine
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    Bad_Valentine Member

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    There's nothing new under the sun. ;) I love what Cogito said. Also agree, this concept is definitely not unique, sounds like Stargate Atlantis as well? You never knew about Mass Effect before you came up with your idea ... so just writing your space opera how you initially envisioned it, in your unique voice as a writer, will instantly set it apart in my opinion. You aren't copying anyone's story, you aren't copying anyone's writing style; you have a unique (to you) story concept. Forget about Mass Effect (and don't look up Stargate Atlantis, either!! ;)) and just let your fingers fly. :)
     
  7. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know how you feel, really. I've come up with the most amazingly awesome, unique ideas and felt that the ideas alone were so original and groundbreaking that everyone would just drop to their knees in awe over them.

    Thing is, I was just ignorant. Ignorant to how many stories there are out there already, using the same ideas. The more you read, the more you realise it's not the idea but the execution of it that matters. Mass Effect was an awesome game, but it wasn't original. Even if Mass Effect had never come around, your story wouldn't be original. Because, like with all other good ideas, loads of writers have thought them up before and your/Mass Effect's idea is no exception.

    But you know, it doesn't matter. Mass Effect is a good game story because it's well told, has well executed drama, likeable characters and a rich world to become immersed in. It has it's own unique personality, and so will your story have because it's written by you and your personality is unique by default. If you wanna distance your story more from that of Mass Effect then draw on your own life experience to make it more personal to you.
     
  8. Space_Goose
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    Space_Goose Member

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    Hello everyone.

    Thank you for the replies. I must admit that I am not really surprised by any of the responses. I was very aware that similar stories had been made before such as Stargate. I am not so much a fan of the different star gate TV series but I loved the original movie. The point is, I new there stories before mine that featured an extinct alien race and something to do with their extinction came back to threaten the present. But the idea I had was different that all those or at least it was different enough. Mass Effect just go so many of the details exactly the same as my story. It be honest, when I first beat Mass Effect 1, I actually researched to find out who made the game (individual people) just to see if it was anybody I knew, the details were that close. It turned out that to my knowledge, I don't know the guys who created Mass Effect. I have made my self a list of all the details of the story that I needed to figure out and solve. Most of these details were names given to organizations, governments, technologies ect. Mass Effect hit a lot of what I came up with for these head on; some of them are exactly what I came up with.

    I had been on a really creative burst lately. I had been filling in the blanks and coming up with these details at a lightening pace, and I was very happy with them. Mass Effect was like me running full speed into a brick wall. It literally stopped this creative burst right in its tracks and knocked back a bit and yeah, it even hurt.

    It was very, very frustrating. I will say though as I went into a bit on my first post. Mass Effect is not 100 percent exactly like my story. There some significant differences, mainly in how the story ends... Well, I say that. Mass Effect was apparently designed from the beginning to be a trilogy. Part three is not out yet and I have yet to complete Mass Effect 2 so who knows how this trilogy will end.

    Luckily though, I had a dream last night which kind of helped me come up with a way to change the direction of my story while still keeping the same central plot. Hopefully this will separate my story from Mass Effect enough that I won’t be accused of "ripping it off".

    I appreciate the link Cogito, which will certainly come in handy as I move forward.
     
  9. zaffy
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    zaffy Contributing Member

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    I once read there are two basic cake recipes, the rest are variations on a theme.
    Stories are much the same.
     
  10. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    Ok, from what you have described so far it sounds like a million and one other space stories, but as far as the comparison goes with Mass Effect 1/2 I'd say it seems far enough apart to be worthy to continue, I'd even go as far as to say your storyline sounds much better than that of Mass Effect.

    I've had moments like this with my book. I've rented so many films because I've seen a trailer or something and paniced that my story has been a waste of time and unoriginal. But everytime I've watched the films in question I've so far been able to breathe a sigh of relief as nothing has actually come close to my storyline. Phew!

    My story is hard work, I'm still on a first draft, and I'm crafting it into something unlike anything else on the market (as far as I'm aware). It will take time, but it is possible to write something new.
     
  11. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just don't let your story rely on being original, because there's most likely something, somewhere out there that follows the exact same plot idea. You just haven't read it yet. I'm not saying this in an attempt to discourage -- just pointing out that relying on originality is putting all your eggs in one basket.
     

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