1. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    Writing stories like others writers.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TheSilverBeetle, Mar 21, 2012.

    Do you ever feel like your story is to much like one that is already out there? I mean do you think it is okay to take certain ideas as long as you don't completely copy their plot? What are your thoughts on how similar a story can be to another's?
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I try very hard not to read anything that is similar to what I am writing at the time. You can write from the same idea another writer has used (in fact, it's really hard not to), but you need to make it your own. How similar can one story be to another? How similar was "Kiss Me, Kate" to "The Taming of the Shrew"? "West Side Story" to "Romeo and Juliet"? "Clueless" to "Emma"?
     
  3. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    Okay what you said alone actually really helped. Thank you.
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree with Ed. I don't read anything like I'm writing at the time, either. Even without intending/wanting to, I would find myself moving my story in the direction of what I was reading, so I stopped. In fact, I'll read things that have absolutely nothing to do with my story (except research). But there are no new ideas, as someone famous said, only new ways of writing about them.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hm, no, I haven't had that feeling. And I'm not worrying about copying other writers, either the plot or writing style, so that doesn't stop me from reading similar books while writing my own. I feel quite secure in both my style and ideas so I'm not that easily influenced in that sense. Actually I think it helps me to read books of a similar style/genre while I'm writing to get into the mindset that a certain kind of book inspires. That doesn't mean though, that I'm copying anything from those books.
     
  6. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    I find that reading things that are similar to your novel/story keep you interested in what you are writing and invested in the idea which is important while writing a novel.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^totally agree with that. And in days when You feel less motivated reading something of the same genre, given it's one you actually like to read yourself, can put you in the right state of mind to write your own story.
     
  8. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest I don't read at all whilst I am writing. However, I do know my books have influences from other places, and the writing style has a lot of similarities to the stories I inhaled as a kid. Enid Blyton's dialogue is very definitely the source of mine, she is probably the reason my characters nearly all have animals.
     
  9. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    Oh my goodness. You don't read at all while writing?
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    No - I either read or I write. I don't do both together. I've read an obscene amount of books in my lifetime so I don't feel guilty about it. I read Phantasmagoria and Other Poems by Lewis Carroll, a book on nursing by Florence Nightingale and Les Miserables last week. For the next month I'll write.
     
  11. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    I would not read if I was that way, I'm always writing. But then again, you seem to schedule yourself so it's all good, I just couldn't do it.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not really, I just don't write if I pick up a book. It is rare even with the kids a book takes me more than two days to read.

    Usually it is because BBC Radio 4 or 4 extra has a book at Bedtime I want to listen to, I'll read whilst it is on.

    Otherwise the only reading I do is to the children, but even that is much less now the older two can read and are reading to the little one.

    I inhaled so many books until I was twenty five and had children that I'm happy just putting aside three or four weeks a year to read.
     
  13. Henning
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    Henning Member

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    No new ideas just new ways of writing them? I don't know, to me it feels more like new ideas with similarities in them. But hey the crowd disagrees so who knows...
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm totally the same, I'm always writing on something and have to take time off to remember to read because I get so caught up in the writing that i almost forget it.
     
  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I read while I'm writing. I don't think the style of what I'm reading infects my own - I'm old, and my style seems pretty much set in stone.

    And I read slowly these days, because I'm reading like a writer - always examining the writer's style, technique, approach to pacing, and so on. I'm not sure I'm even capable of reading like I did when I was young any more, before I was a student of the craft. That doesn't really bother me - for decades, I've listened to guitar players to learn how they do what they're doing, not so much to just enjoy the music. So there's a precedent.
     
  16. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's absolutely okay to take ideas from other people/books. If you throw in a few of your own ideas, the end result is usually very different. You only need to worry if you take a step back and the whole seems very similar to another book (or another writer's style).
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess I couldn't imagine not enjoying the stories - i do note how they do it more but I tend only to do that on read number two. Also i think it is important to be able to read my own stories as a reader. I love leaving them a month and then curling up with a story that is everything I want to read. For me the true greatness of a story is the 'magic' that makes me not care about the world around me or even consider the author as I'm reading.

    My style is influenced by books I've enjoyed, and I don't intend to change that or the parts of my stories that have come from other sources.
     
  18. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If we're honest, we all steal ideas from one another. How can we not? Old stories inspire us, after all. There's nothing in this world that's really originally - there's only ever more creative ways of presenting what is already known. It's not whether you use cliches that matter - cliches are cliches because they're used often, and they're used often because well, the idea is actually pretty damn brilliant! - but what matters is, can you find a creative and interesting way of presenting it? Take Harry Potter - there's nothing originally in sending an unloved misfit boy who gets bullied at home to a school of wizardry where he becomes a hero. There's also nothing original in victory through sacrifice and survival through love, or the idea of someone being "destined" to do something. But heck was it creative!

    I'm quite honest about my inspirations. My idea was first inspired by Baldur's Gate, various Japanese anime, Aladdin (or any other film with a poor boy who gets with a rich girl), any number of fantasy books that include epic wars, greek mythology (since I steal the Underworld idea almost directly), various wildlife documentaries - one villain of mine attacked with a technique that was inspired by the red velvet worm (thank you David Attenborough!). But now, think of it this way - how many stories would have used every last one of these inspirations to the same extent and worked it in exactly the same way?

    There will always be something new, and something that is yours and yours alone, regardless of how many ideas you take from. Just love your story enough to keep writing, and believe that others will love it too, whether they've seen it before or not. If you're a good enough writer, you'll enchant your readers anyway :)
     
  19. TheSilverBeetle
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    TheSilverBeetle Member

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    I just have to say you guys are awesome and have given me a lot more confidence in my story. Thank you!
     
  20. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    I do tend to get discouraged when I find that someone already had a really, really similar idea. But it's kind of stupid to feel that way, because really one can't help it. How many books are there out there? Everything's been tried. But no two people will ever tell the same story in the same way.
     
  21. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    If your story is too much like another, you need to go back to the drawing board and think of something better. Subjects can be similar, but you must make it your own, you must be confident to defend your story to anyone who accuses you of copying. At least that's how I think about it.
     

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