1. brihoppy
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    brihoppy Member

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    Story/plot ideas/synopsis...

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by brihoppy, Apr 29, 2010.

    Bear with me on this one guys...

    As I've been looking around, I've seen Cog's template responses to people looking for feedback on story ideas, and while I largely agree with what he says, it got me thinking...

    Thanks in advance if you plough through this post...!!!

    Imagine this scenario...

    It's back in the day...JK Rowling is sat in her grotty flat twiddling her thumbs, wracking her brains for a story to begin her rise from rags to riches, but she is bereft of creativity...so she decides to log-on to WF for inspiration.

    On there, she checks the 'Plot Creation' threads and sees my wonderful idea for a boy wizard at magic school, etc, etc, that has recieved Cog's standard response.

    This is all the inspiration she needs and as a fairly decent writer goes away and creates literary history...meanwhile, as an average writer, my boy wizard stories meet moderate success or a flurry of rejection slips.

    My point is this...

    Undeniably, if 10 people write about the same synopsis, then the strongest writing is most likely to be successful, but if JKR had never seen my story idea, then she might never have thought of anything remotely as successful and still be twiddling her thumbs. Therefore, even though Cog is largely right in what he says, isn't there still some danger in revealing your intimately thought out ideas on a public forum...?

    Cheers,

    Bri.
     
  2. Deevra
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    Deevra Member

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    Wow... That's just... damn depressing. I suppose there is the potential for great harm, yet at the same time, there is no gain without risk. So Boy Wizard doesn't work, well, do something else. Most stories can be re-adapted to a new setting.
     
  3. brihoppy
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    brihoppy Member

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    Was just a thought that crossed my mind...I know we all draw inspiration from many sources, even others work and ideas, and I know every story has been written a million times so there are no 'original' stories...it just seems sensible to keep your original, earth-shattering ideas to yourself...?!

    Bri.
     
  4. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    And what, exactly, is earth-shattering and original about Harry Potter that could easily be stolen in a forum like this? The individual elements are hardly original: teenage wizards, magic schools, a battle between good and evil, a coming of age story about an orphan...none of these things are original. The ways that Harry Potter (and indeed, any story) are in the style of the author. How those archetypal ideas that comprise the story are brought together, depicted and ultimately, if the novel is successful, become more than just the sum of the parts.

    Take just the idea of a wizarding school, for instance. Within that, there are countless individualising elements that mark it apart from any other wizarding school that might be invented--the classes, the teachers, the houses, the style of dorms, the sports, the layout and location, the ghosts, the staircase, the paintings...and that's just one element of the story.

    The concept of Harry Potter might be easy to steal, but that idea isn't what makes it special, which is what Cog is referring to in his template post. What makes that idea special is how it's executed.
     
  6. brihoppy
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    brihoppy Member

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    Hmmm, can't help feeling like I've just been b*ll*cked there...!!!
     
  7. kittenmojo
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    kittenmojo Member

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    I sometimes think that only in Sci-Fi or Fantasy can you find truly unique ideas and would guard those zealously, although they too tend to generally have a good and evil conflict.

    It's when you try to write realistic stories and are inhibited by the boundaries of everyday life, you can struggle to come up with anything original. So, as arron89 says, it's the style you write them in and your descriptions that give them their unique flavour.

    I think this is where anti-heros and heroines come in and are much more prevalent in todays films/ series/ books, etc. People get tired of perfection.

    Anyway, enough rambling. What I mean to say is that most "ideas" won't be original but if you are lucky enough to come up with something that has a good hook or is different to anything else you've seen, you should be more wary with it. That just makes sense to me.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you have a truly original idea, congratulations. And if you post it up and someone spots that grain of gold in a beachful of sand grains, and moreover sees the potential in it, more power to him.

    The likelihood that your idea is that unique is vanishingly small. Nevertheless, there really is nothing to be gained by posting your idea, so why risk it?

    The outstanding ideas Rachel refers to don't really come from science fiction so much as from scientific research and theory. One of the most groundbreaking science fiction ideas in recent memory was Larry Niven's Ringworld. But the idea itself came from a physicist, Freeman John Dysan, who postulated years before that a developing civilization would eventually require the full energy output of its sun, so he came up with the concept of a shell of energy collectors completely enclosing the star. The Ringworld was a compromise Niven came up with that would be "easier" to construct (but still nearly incomprehensible from an engineering standpoint).

    Ideas don't spring from a vacuum. They come from research, extrapolation, a lot of hard work and luck, and a sperk of intuition. It won't come from new permutations of the same elements. To most (for all practical purposes, all) writers, it won't come at all. What a good writer will do is find a great way of telling ideas that others come up with.
     
  9. photoann
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    photoann Member

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    So, guard your original work.....
    Does this extend to having your work reviewed at an early stage? (ie posting in the review area or having a beta reader have a look.)
    ...if you have an original idea, or at least one you think is original, and you don't want to "risk it" getting poached, how do you know it's original?
     
  10. kittenmojo
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    kittenmojo Member

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    I don't think you ever would know, unless you've read everything that's ever been written!

    "Does this extend to having your work reviewed at an early stage? (ie posting in the review area or having a beta reader have a look" - Think this is why this forum suggests you only post an excerpt or a small part of it. Once your written work is in the public domain, you've got no chance of it getting published, from my understanding of it.
     
  11. photoann
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    photoann Member

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    Do you mean that a publisher won't even look at your manuscript if it's been posted somewhere? Does this extend to beta readers?
     
  12. kittenmojo
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    kittenmojo Member

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    They generally tend to want to know if you've submitted your manuscript elsewhere before they have a read. If you've posted the full thing on a forum, from my understanding, that's considered to be self-published and "in the public domain". I'm not an expert, though, so so I could be wrong.

    Not entirely sure on the beta question, to be honest. Maybe some of the senior members on this forum can give you some advice on that one?
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    definitely NOT 'in the public domain' which means no copyright is in force, due to the age of the work... but it is available to be read by the public at large, for free!

    and that's why a publisher wouldn't be jumping at the chance to pay you for it, hoping folks will pay them for it, when they can read it for free online...
     

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