I've been thinking about a novel for about a month now. Characters are still flying in my head, the world is still being built, and the rough idea of a plot is mapping in my mind. To the question: How do you all handle using ideas previously established by other authors that are now generally accepted in certain genres? Examples of this: races like dwarves, elves, trolls, etc. are commonly featured in multiple different stories in fantasy. I'm not sure who first used these races (I assume JRR Tolkien since they're from norse mythology) but they're a mainstay. Another example include toys coming to life: Indian in the cupboard, Toy Soldiers, and Chucky, which extends into the genre of horror rather than fantasy. My book opens with the tale of a young girl who has a disability which has slowed her development. The first chapter ends with her death and the second details her opening her eyes in someone else's body, in a fantasy world entirely different from Earth. This type of transformation has been done before: Narnia, Warriors of Virtue, The Outlander series (although none of the characters ever die, and it usually includes some sort of magical item). My question is how carefully must I tread in order to take this idea and make it my own. I appreciate the feedback!