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  1. x_raichelle_x
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    x_raichelle_x Contributing Member

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    What if I've stolen somebody's plot?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by x_raichelle_x, Apr 7, 2009.

    I posted this on another writing forum a while ago, & got some general answers, but I'm really worried about this!

    I have this great idea for a story, but I tend to be very ditsy & forgetful. Basically I'm worried that this story has already been written, I've heard about it somewhere / read it, & then woke up in the middle of the night thinking its my brand new idea? Like I said, I'm very forgetful lol.

    The last thing I want is for me to spend ages writing this novel, as its my first, only to send it away & have it sent back saying I'm a plagiarist / its a famous movie / its already been written.

    Does anyone what I can do about this?

    xxx
     
  2. Miswrite
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    Miswrite Member

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    The only thing I can think of is, search for your plot. Ask librarians, friends, Google. And, as I suspect will be mentioned, it's not about the plot, it's about how you write it. In any case, I doubt your exact plot will fit someone else's exact plot - although in the case of Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series, I'm almost certain she read Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, went to sleep, woke up, and decided it was all her idea.
     
  3. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every story has been written if you are being general. Every story can be compared to another in basic terms, but every writer is unique. Make the story yours, even if it shares plot elements with others, and nobody will care.
     
  4. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    they say(those people that say things like this) that there are only 7 truly original stories out there, something to do about the deadly sins no doubt, but only 7. the rest are just variations of the same story told. after all, love is love, hate is hate, fear is fear. such is life.

    so maybe you read something and wrote something of the like, but the thing is, its in your words, as long as it isn't copied word for word, well then its yours.

    i'm sure we've all read a piece and said, wow this is just like a story i've read, but there are always little things that make it different, variations in plot and character.

    don't worry about it, write in your voice, make it your story, you are a writer
     
  5. Kursal
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    Kursal Senior Member

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    Mmm, it would be a bit of a help if you told us what the plot is, maybe someone here would recognise it. I can understand why you wouldn't want to though. The thing to remember is that there are very few stories that haven't been told already and I'm fairly sure that, however good your plot might be, someone will be able to say "That sounds like.....".

    Myself and a friend came up with something that is totally original the other day. It was purely by accident but we are searching around and don't think anyone else has done it before. It's quite strange. I never thought I would manage it. Maybe it actually takes two people to make that leap.

    Anyway, I wouldn't worry. Flesh out your story a little more and write that book! It will be an experience if nothing else.
     
  6. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    i wish i could believe in original but i can't, we as humans have a limited set of imagination genes, i'm sure we think we are limitless but i doubt it. There is only how a story is told, that's how you make it original. something too alien just won't make sense, we as humans always want a reason for things to be.

    that said, i'd like to read what came out of two minds, Kursal, a good story is always a pleasure to read. a different one, even better.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there are only 3 basic story premises/plots... and they were written on their authors' cave walls long ago... everything written since is just creative plagiarism... the three basics are:

    man vs man [includes any sentient being... + robots, as they're made by man/whatevers]
    man vs god [includes nature]
    man vs self

    all plots fit into those three... so go ahead and write what you dreamt up and don't worry about what it sounds like till you finish it, since stories change as we write them and it may even turn out to be very different from your first idea...
     
  8. Henry The Purple
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    Henry The Purple Active Member

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    Mammamaia, my soul elevates a little whenever I read one of your posts. :)
     
  9. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Saying there are only X basic plots is like saying there are only Y basic food groups or Z basic personalities. It's arbitrary and meaningless. Everything in existence has existed before if you consider it on a high enough level, and everything is unique if you consider it on a low enough level.

    If you like an idea for a story, and you're not actually breaking copyright law (you won't wake up in the middle of the night and imagine that level of detail, naming, exact phrasing and such to do so), write it!
     
  10. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    The way I look at it is... have you read the book you want to write before?

    If the answer is yes, then write the fanfiction until you can get it out of your head.
    If the answer is no, then it is "original" to you as a writer, so put it down on paper.

    That's how I view originality/unoriginality as a writer... If I haven't read it, then I can still write it if only for me to be able to read it. And a book may exist out there with a similar plot-line that I haven't read yet, but it's not going to have the same twists and turns in it and the characters aren't going to be the same.

    ~Lynn
     
  11. keeklies
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    keeklies Member

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    Give your plot idea some interesting twists so you're sure no one else could have written it. There are lots of plots that are similar. Aren't most romances: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back? Just make sure the story has your unique flavor and your characters are unique and endearing in their own ways.
     
  12. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    Uh, but there are just three basic plot-lines, like mamamaia said. That doesn't restrict what you can do, but it certainly isn't meaningless. It can help map out your story and give you a clear idea of what you're doing. These categorizations are there for a reason.
     
  13. Brightsmiles
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    Brightsmiles Senior Member

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    i think there's so much out there that even if you deemed your plot completely original (though i doubt thats possible, as everyone else has already mentioned the limited variables that can always be applied) someone is still bound to think "oh that sounds like the bit from so-and-so's book!'
    its like writing a ghost story and a reader saying 'this sounds like casper.' you'll never be able to control other peoples opinions or the connections they make from your work, however definate or random. the only thing you can do is make sure you thoroughly research your intended plot and stay true to your own style and characters.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    what a nice thing to say, henry!... you've made my day... maybe even my week!!!

    love and extra hugs, maia
     
  15. g1ng3rsnap9ed
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    g1ng3rsnap9ed Contributing Member

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    Let's face it, basically every plot has been done already. Just write the story in you own voice and write what you want, regardless of how many times its been done and if you are true to your own story, then I'm sure that it will stick out above all the rest. If not that, then it would at least be an honorable mention. ;)
     
  16. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    Dr. Doctor, if you consider placing something in one of three categories getting a clear idea of it, you have a very strange definition of the word "clear". At that level you might as well just go the whole way and say there is exactly one basic plot and it goes like this: Introduction -> Conflict -> Resolution. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Miswrite
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    Miswrite Member

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    But plots do all fall into man vs. man, man vs. god, and man vs. self. That's why no plots are original. Try and name one plot that doesn't fall into any of those categories.
     
  18. Dr. Doctor
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    Clear = easy to understand.

    Only three basic templates = also easy to understand.

    That's basically all I was saying. You seem to be taking this the wrong way. Don't view it as a hindrance, just as a springboard from which all stories are sprung from.

    And yes, I would like to know any story you can think of that isn't "man vs. man," "man vs. god," or "man vs. nature."
     
  19. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    God vs God, duh.:p

    My point isn't that you can't divide the millions of stories written into extremely broad categories, my point is that because they're so ridiculously broad there's no practical benefit for doing so until you reach much small categories such as individual genre of specific plot archetypes like (random example) a Truman Show Plot.

    EDIT: And one other thing, if you're going to say it's important to start from the most basic "templates" before working your way down ... that wouldn't be true either, since the 1 meta plot intro -> conflict -> resolution would be highest, and no particular level of categorisation would in that case be any more important than any other level, so there's still no point in specifically saying there is 3 basic plots compared to any other number or breakdown. AND, I personally, have always planned stories from specific characters or ideas for particular scenes and worked upwards from there, ergo, it's not even necessary to consider those broad categories when writing at all.
     
  20. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I wouldn't worry about it because no matter how hard you try to create a world or plot, there will be elements of other stories in it. Heck, I've created the world I wanted FINALLY in my latest incantation of my novel and while it's my own take on the plot, it has elements of 'goldeneye' 'ghost in the shell' and a couple others in it..while it doesn't plagiarize the works, you can see the creative influences in it...
     
  21. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    I think you're over-analyzing this. I wasn't saying you have to start by thinking about these templates. You start like you just said, with ideas or characters, but these ideas and characters fit into the templates, whether you realize it or not. I don't know, I guess I just like the idea of knowing such things exist - it doesn't hamper me in the least. Think what you will.
     
  22. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I think the point was more that no matter what we write (none of us really start thinking, oh well this is going to be god vs. man, man vs man or man vs. nature), our stories always fall into one of the three subconsciously. I think that's what the main point was here. And it's true. God vs God is man vs. man, btw. It's still two beings pitted against one another. So yeah. The templates still hold true. We don't consciously embrace them in our plotting (some of us probably do...) but they're still always going to be there whether we like them or not.

    ~Lynn
     
  23. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    ... It's no fun arguing on the internet when people are missing your point rather than countering it. Pfft.

    Alright, thought experiment time. A short story showing the life of a small tree in a park. The tree grows, watches people come and go, and then eventually dies. Which of the three categories does that fall into? (I can think of two semi-plausible answers and one clever answer.)
     
  24. Miswrite
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    Miswrite Member

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    Man vs. self.

    By "man," every template means the main character, or the one being discussed, so the tree is the man of the story. Since it does not physically fight another tree, and it does not face off a thunderstorm in an epic battle, it's neither of the other two. The tree watches and analyzes people, in the end, reflecting on itself as it struggles with its' confinement and eventual death. If the story focused more on death, I would think it would be man vs. god because a power higher than the tree itself is fighting against it.
     
  25. OneMoreNameless
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    OneMoreNameless Contributing Member

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    It does not reflect on itself. It is a tree. It can not think. (The readers, not literally the tree, objectively watch the tree and area around it.)

    You get points for creativity though.
     

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