1. DJP
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    DJP New Member

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    To Read or Not to Read Similar Works?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by DJP, Nov 21, 2013.

    Of course, my novel is not novel. At first, this was a big disappointment, but I'm used to discovering how unoriginal my ideas are--I'm a programmer, too. I don't want to read the handful of books that are very similar to my own, but should I? I want the details of my work to be original and all my own. I don't want ideas inspired from somebody else's book bouncing around in my head, but I know it'll happen if I read them. Should I be familiar enough with similar works to guarantee sufficient differences? As I've fleshed out my outline, I've become confident that my approach is unique, even if the events might be similar to a host of other stories, so I'll probably read them... What'd you all do?
     
  2. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read something about this just a while ago. They posit that you should read work of the same genre and style, but to put that work away well in advance of starting your own writing, and to not read it during the duration of your writing, for the reasons you mentioned. Similar ideas are everywhere. Example. I read the Eragon series to my daughter a little while ago. I don't read much magic. I;m reading Jim Butchers's Storm Front, and am surprised to see his premises for magic are very similar to Christopher Paolini's. Storm Front was written first. Maybe all magic is viewed as such, I don't know enough about it, but both of these are distinctly different series.
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I tend to take note of what not to do when reading. I look for flaws so much I don't enjoy the read. I'm not suggesting my work is totally original but I rarely see stuff and shout, "AH - You stole my idea!" but like so many say, no story is original - it's just how you write it.
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    There is a bonus in reading say lots of Zombie fiction and then deciding to write a zombie story. You already know what's been done. There's where people can write Xombies or Warm Bodies or The Forest of Hands and Teeth. But it's not necessary. Originality to a concept is overrated the only thing that will make your story original are the characters and their journey through the story.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013
  5. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    You should not fear your idea not being unique because it probably is not, but even without reading similar works, the chance of you duplicating a story that already exists is minuscule at best, at least in the details. When you look at novels on a macro scale, they all follow the same formulas. However, most important is that if an idea inspires you to write it, you should do so regardless of whether similar works exist or not. You should write for yourself.

    Now if you actually want to publish your story and get it sold, you are going to have to read similar works, so you can know what people like and what is selling.
     

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