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Fantasy Faction Writers => Writers' Corner => Topic started by: tebakutis on August 12, 2016, 09:52:19 PM

Title: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on August 12, 2016, 09:52:19 PM
I've often said on these forums that the desire to "be original" is less than desirable, not because I endorse copy/pasting other people's work, but  because I believe there's enough people writing enough stuff, influenced by enough common elements, that someone, somewhere, has had your idea already, even if you aren't aware of it. So while you may have come up with an idea on your own, someone else has already had that same idea ... so don't stress when you see your idea somewhere else.

As part of this, I thought this might be a fun thread for the writers on the forum to tell their sad stories about ideas they had came up with, developed, and then (gasp!) saw in other published media after the fact. This is where you can tell us your stories about the really cool character or city name another author made famous, or your idea for a magic system that appeared in something else before your work was published, and so on.

I'll start! You don't have to use this format, but it's here if you find it fun. Here's one from my own writing adventures.


My Idea
I started writing the sequel to my first book in 2004 (long before the first book got published), and I had a hole to fill in my character roster. While I had introduced Lifewardens (water), Firebrands (fire), and Aerials (air) I had never had a character who was an Earther (land magic). As the characters from my first book were splitting up on separate adventures, I wanted a partner/foil for one of my characters, Aryn, and so came up with a character named Tania.

What Inspired My Idea
Tania was an older student (several years ahead of Aryn) who had already graduated from Solyr (Aryn's school). She was skilled in Earth magic (an Earther) because I wanted to show how that magic school worked with a main character.

Aryn went blind in the first book (long story) but my students could use something called "the dream world" to see basically in a second-sight type thing ... this is how they scribe glyphs. Aryn was using the dream world to allow him to get about even though he was blind ... but it was stressful, tiring and hard to see details.

I wanted to give Aryn and Tania something in common right off, so I came up with the idea that Tania had gone blind at an early age, naturally. Given all the time she'd been blind, she'd learned how to use the dream world to see far more detail than normal people did. That way, she could teach Aryn how to see better, and thus give me an excuse to improve Aryn's sight as the book progressed.

Finally, Aryn is a somewhat formal character, reserved, so I wanted the character he was playing off of to be playful, sarcastic, and prone to teasing people. So that's the playful character I created - Tania Lace.

Who Stole It and How I Reacted
In 2009 (yes, I was late to the Avatar party) a good friend introduced me to one of my all time favorite shows, Avatar: The Last Airbender. It basically took the magic system from my books and made it BETTER (I'll comment on that in a future post) but also, in a later season, introduced a character named ... Toph.

(Avatar fans will know where this is going)

Toph was blind, but had overcome it. She was a powerful Earth tribe martial artist, so used lots of land based attacks. And she was confident, funny, sarcastic, and ... yeah.

Obviously, I was crushed. Even though I'd already finished the first draft of my sequel, I seriously debated, for several months, either radically altering Tania's personality or magic school (though it would leave me without an Earther) or, even worse, scrapping her entirely. I was so sensitive about the idea of someone saying I "copied" Toph from A:TLA that I stressed out like crazy, despite the fact that I *loved* Tania as a character.

Finally, I got over myself. I accepted that I wasn't the first person to come up with a blind, snarky female character who used Earth magic and could see without eyes, and I wouldn't be the last. My character was my character, not a Toph clone, despite their similarities, and life went on. :)
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Peat on August 12, 2016, 10:08:34 PM
Damn fine thread.

I can't actually think of any where I've hit this one yet. Oh wait no. I did have an idea for demonic incursions and felt a little "Huh" when I read the blurb of The Painted Man. I'm sure there's others that will come to me.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: zmunkz on August 13, 2016, 06:41:30 AM
Uggg ... great thread, but depressing subject, lol. This happened to me three times recently.

1. I love the idea of a forgotten technology that is still running things, and characters encounter or even live with it it in a post-apocalyptic world, not really knowing what it is or who made it or how it works. It was inspired by the ST:TNG episode "When the bough breaks," which explores a different side of that idea. Maybe eight or nine months after jotting this down in my notebook, I read Prince of Thorns, and had to strike this from my idea list.

2. In my first novel, I had a kind of sci-fi magic that would interact with character's emotions and thoughts, manifesting things in reality. Humans could alter the world by thinking about it, en masse, on a subconscious level. I read Black Sun Rising while I was half way through the story. In this case I had read the book when I was very young but completely forgotten what it was about... or so I thought... so I suspect there was some subconscious concept-osmosis going on. Had to go back and entirely gut that theme from the novel.

3. I had a different sort of overlap that I can't explain without spoilers, but I had a sequence written and less than two months later I read The Great Rift and found pretty much the exact same event as I had written, which then induced the same sort of plot twist I had written. Not exactly, but as I was reading the book it was like, "This sounds familiar... no please don't let this happen next... oh no, but surely it won't do this next... bah!"  Decided to ditch the scene and re-outline.

Related to the thread topic are the ideas that grow organically, but when I step back and look at the result, it reminds me of stuff I've read. In my current NiP I have a naturally occurring sort of magic medicine that shows up in specific places of the world at specific times. It is valuable stuff, so different countries/cultures compete to harvest the substance when it appears. It plays an initial role, not a recurring role, and the idea came together very organically from totally non Way Of Kings concepts... but thematically the end result is very similar to the battle for chasm fiend chrysalises found in Way of Kings. For this one I want to get peer feedback to see if it is problematic.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Peat on August 14, 2016, 07:50:57 PM
I'm also a lot more likely to get zmunkz's problem. The worst was when I realised I was ripping off myself and abandoned a story to be resurrected with earlier characters when I had time.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on August 15, 2016, 04:25:49 AM
I don't know if it helps anyone else, but part of what makes me not get so depressed when I see similar ideas in other media is to focus on what inspired my own ideas, and own that. For instance, I *know* a ton of the fantasy elements in my first book were inspired by games in the Final Fantasy series and Lunar: Silver Star Story, specifically, as well as a liberal dose of Terry Brooks' early books (which remain some of my favorites), so by pointing directly to what inspired me, I don't feel as deflated when I see something similar.

After all, maybe those same ideas inspired them too!

Other than the similarities between Toph and Tania, the other (most) depressing revelation I had was also with Avatar: The Last Airbender's "magic" system. Before I saw the show in 2009, I was pretty happy with the elemental nature of the magic system in my book, inspired, again, by Final Fantasy... the classic spells of Ice, Bolt, Fire, and Quake (the names varied based on translation, but it was always those elements). I went with Fire, Water, Earth, and Air, because why not? I had my characters scribing glyphs and shooting elements of each other, and I was very happy with that idea.

Avatar did all that, basically exactly what I'd visualized for my magic system, but they upped it a notch by having the characters literally do badass martial arts moves WHILE they were casting elemental magic. Badass martial arts moves. That is SO much cooler than scribing glyphs (sorry, but it is). So my initial reaction when I realized what Avatar was doing was just this massive sense of disappointment, because it was the same idea I'd had, but *better*.

It was only I stepped back, traced my ideas back to what inspired them in the first place, and reminded myself that I *was* ripping off ideas I'd seen before (just not THIS particular idea ;P) that it stopped bothering me as much. However, one thing I *did* end up doing as a result of seeing Avatar was renaming my elements.

In earlier drafts, I had my elements just as they'd been in all the other media to use the four elements setup - Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. After seeing Avatar, I went back and changed the names to Life, Heat, Land, and Breath. Now, of course, I can't imagine them as anything else, but I will say that I'm happy Avatar pushed me to be just a tiny bit less derivative.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: The Gem Cutter on August 15, 2016, 04:51:50 AM
Careful Tebakutis, you are dangerously close to demonstrating personal growth and deepening character. Pretty sure that can get you banned.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: ScarletBea on August 15, 2016, 09:12:53 AM
Careful Tebakutis, you are dangerously close to demonstrating personal growth and deepening character. Pretty sure that can get you banned.
In any other place but here ;D
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: The Gem Cutter on August 15, 2016, 04:56:54 PM
I have experienced/explored this several times. I won't bore you with the details beyond saying R. Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing uses geometry terms/descriptors for sorcery, so I had to shift.

This was a good thing, as it compelled me to shift from a specific and effective approach to describing sorcery to a central metaphor that is much better and more sophisticated. I wasn't even looking for a central metaphor. But abandoning my family of descriptors, I had to go back to the drawing board, and what I found was better conceptually.

I have come to the realization that a central metaphor was more important because the effects of sorcery are not difficult to describe, and drawing from my analogy-creating superpowers (I can devise analogies like nobody's business), I do well in this area. But I believe my metaphor for sorcery is distinct, sophisticated but comprehensible, and in keeping with deep and ancient views of magic that are thousands of years old. Paired with a distinct and archaic name for my source of magic, I have been well compensated for Bakker's "thievery."

So yes, although my sexy girlfriend was "stolen", so to speak, I then stumbled into a worthy wife, which is a much more valuable thing.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on August 16, 2016, 06:38:39 PM
The thing I find interesting in this thread, so far, is that people have called out that they actually *did* scrap their idea when they found out there was a similar one out there, even if they came up with their idea *before* they were aware someone else had something similar.

I don't know if it's good or bad, but I'm generally not going to scrap my idea when I find a similar one after the fact, unless it's exactly the same. Even then, I'd consider modifications over scrapping. As with the hero's journey, no one "owns" that idea ... everyone is creating their own take on it, just as artists all paint the same vase of sunflowers. IMO, the writing process and the final completed product are what make an author's book distinct from other books, not necessarily whether the idea has never been done before.

Now obviously, I'm not going to write a book series about a young man who finds out he's secretly a magician, gets invited to a British magic school, and ends up fighting He Who Must Not Be Named. I'm also not going to write a book about a young genius tactician who ends up going to a prestigious floating battle school, and ends up defeating an alien race in what he thinks is a war game. There's limits, of course.

But if I liked one my ideas enough, and I'd written most of the book, and I later saw a similar idea crop up somewhere else in some other medium ... my reaction at this point would be "meh". I'm not going to scrap an idea I'm passionate about developing into a story just because some other person had a similar idea independently from me. They can write their take on it, and I'll write mine, and we'll have two distinct results.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Peat on August 16, 2016, 07:11:13 PM
I haven't scrapped my demonic incursion idea; its waiting for a rainy day/me to git gud.

But in general, I agree. Shared ideas are a part of life.

I did have one story idea - well, do have - that features a possible clash between Light/Spring and Darkness/Winter. I will be watching the end of SoIaF with baited breath to see exactly what Martin does so I can retain sufficient difference. Its another of my ideas waiting for me to git gud, you see. Of course, I might decide the idea doesn't fit the series anyway. We will see.

But it did annoy me when I realised what I'd done! And, alas, the idea doesn't pre-date Martin. But occurred, I believe, independently.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Raptori on August 16, 2016, 08:02:37 PM
@Peat (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=41189) you'd like this writing contest entry (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/(oct-2015)-tnotssmbtoafbbtsiathatdwtb/(oct-2015)-tnotssmbtoafbbtsiathatdwtb-submission-thread/msg119970/#msg119970)!  ;D

Totally with tebakutis on this. One way to look at it is that if something's a good idea, fans often want more of the same. How many times do you see people - or yourself - asking for "something similar to XYZ"? If it's been done before successfully, it could actually mean that you've come up with something good.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Peat on August 16, 2016, 08:11:13 PM
Ooh very nic- I mean hey, get off my patch!  :P

I think in retrospect my demonic incursion model woulda been closer to Warcraft than Painted Man, come to think of it.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Lanko on August 17, 2016, 12:43:30 AM
I think no other period of History had so many people writing like in ours. Not only professionally, but for fun or as a hobby as well. Not to mention videogames, movies, cartoons, comics, songs and many other types of entertainment that use heavily some form of storytelling.

So yes, there will be something similar out there, whether you know it or not, if you did it before or not. Something similar, but not totally similar.

I have an assassin character that is not a hooded man climbing roofs or towers with ropes and hooks or moving stealthily through entire castles or cities to kill someone with a dagger.
Instead his kills all look like accidents. He doesn't fight or stab anyone, he actually isn't good at fighting, although he is reasonably strong. He also stalks his victims, pays people close to them to know about them, what they like or don't, eat, drink, hobbies, their ambitions and fears, and so on, and elaborates a plan based on that. It's a work of months of planning, not "Kill X and next day it's done."

Then about last week I read Road Brothers, by Mark Lawrence, which has one story about an assassin. Needless to say my reaction when I saw this passage:

Quote
The assassin requires no passion - his work is not artistry, simply efficient. The very best assassin is no warrior, he doesn't achieve his ends through skill at arms. Instead he must know people, he must understand them, intimately. Sometimes it's the people who stand in his way whose skin he must inhabit, sometimes the victim themselves.
The catch of course is that knowing the full depth of any human, knowing their hopes and frailties, the hurts of the past, the tremor with which they reach for the future... that knowledge is akin to love.

Well, shit, right? Actually, no. Ok, this passage puts exactly how I was thinking in doing my assassin, but so what?
In Lawrence's story, the assassin actually hangs his victim with a curtain and has to kill a guard to escape. In a scene I wrote the assassin finds out his target is an avid book reader. He doesn't give much thought about it initially, but later manages to kill the victim with a book. 
One is a side character, the other is a main one. Their plot lines, origins, view of life, whatever, are totally different.

Also important is that neither me nor Lawrence are the first or will be the last to depict assassins/assassinations like this. How many stories have medieval assassins who are not hooded people wearing cloak and dagger? That are stalkers, charming people who blend in easily, etc? Probably thousands, both recent and old, even if we consider just books.

And this happened just today: I have another character who is a good courtier, a political savvy, someone who has a lot of hindsight about things. She thinks a lot of cause and consequence, long term effects. She can plot to sabotage the business of a rival family, see future trends, and so on.

And just as I'm reading K.J Parker's The Folding Knife, guess what happens? A character, Basso, with pretty much those same traits and some more.
But the similarities end there. Basso's world is much more modern than the one I'm writing. He lives in a Republic that resemble an Italian City-State. He uses terms like hostile takeover, debentures, banks, default loans, currency and such. He becomes pretty much King of his city, stages and carries large wars. My character's schemes and plots never reach such grand scale, though they do affect her family and other characters on a personal level. Nor is the focus of the story so heavily detailed in the working of banks and government.

In fact, Basso is the star of his book, while the character I mentioned is important, but only a secondary one.

And again, how many stories of political fantasy featuring savvy characters much more clever than others, both recent and very old, down to Roman times? Again, nor me or Parker will be the first and much less the last ones to do it.

So of course I'm not gonna scrap anything. I agree with tebakutis on that you shouldn't do it. I would not even bother changing the names of the elements like he did.
Even someone who mentioned technology running things in a very different world, this can go to Prince of Thorns to a lot of steampunk titles, and games like Fallout or Wasteland.
Think we could also trace geometry on magic down to Egyptian times, not to mention pentagrams, hexagrams and such are just as old.

Of course, maybe you have something that is just too similar with a work that is so very popular. Maybe some small changes may apply there. But I still wouldn't scrap the idea just because of that.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on August 17, 2016, 01:16:01 AM
I have an assassin character that is not a hooded man climbing roofs or towers with ropes and hooks or moving stealthily through entire castles or cities to kill someone with a dagger.
Instead his kills all look like accidents. He doesn't fight or stab anyone, he actually isn't good at fighting, although he is reasonably strong. He also stalks his victims, pays people close to them to know about them, what they like or don't, eat, drink, hobbies, their ambitions and fears, and so on, and elaborates a plan based on that. It's a work of months of planning, not "Kill X and next day it's done."

Haha, that's awesome! I'm right there with you ... I wrote an assassin character like that several years ago. If pressed, I'd probably trace the idea back to the terribly awesome movie Final Destination (the first one), where the Grim Reaper literally puts into motion Rube Golberg-style events that result in the death of people who were *supposed* to die, but somehow cheated death. All of them look like accidents, but were totally arranged by Death.

I think the main line for my story was "the best assassins are those about whom you never hear anything at all" but yeah, it was all about the assassin arranging accidents so no one knew the victim had been assassinated.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: The Gem Cutter on August 17, 2016, 02:57:29 AM
That kind of attitude toward killing reminds me of Max Von Sydow's character in Three Days of the Condor - quite dispassionate, with the pride of a craftsman. Coincidentally, that film is the chief inspiration of book II in my series.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: SugoiMe on August 23, 2016, 05:05:07 AM
Well, glyphs might not be as cool as martial arts, but there's a whole lot of directions you could take that. I'm interested anyway.

I once saw an aspiring writer use the name A'theria for their world, which is exactly like my A'thería minus the accent mark on the "i". I was a little distraught, but then I realized that A'thería isn't the only place name in my book. There's A'kahlía, Morkhen, Mekh'Den and Mekh'Tahleth, which all mean something in the language I've created. Since A'thería means so much more than "a cool name I gave my world", it makes it more my own and I don't feel so bad. Also helps that this particular person wasn't published.

The fish people in my world are pretty much Zoras with a different name. That's initially where I was going with them, but I took that and gave them a different language and an interesting plight in my first book that puts a different twist on them. And when you start to give them a history, that's where they start to diverge into something else.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: JMack on August 23, 2016, 11:32:08 AM
Like many of you, I think, I've got a world I've been thinking about since age 13. (For those who know me on this Forum, you might recognize it now as the setting for my Scrivening concept.) And like so many, I just made up place names that sounded cool. (The original name of the world? Thanlinothoshtad. Yeah.) But some of those place names were particularly jeer-worthy. Such as:

> Lufwal (lawful, anyone?)
> Citoahc (need I spell it out?)
> Lartuen (because, all three, right?)

Now, Lartuen actually sticks with me. I've always kind of liked it.
But back in the day, I wanted a different name.
So I came up with: "Riva."

And then David Eddings broke into my teenage bedroom, rifled my papers, and stole Riva as the name of Garion's eventual capital city in the Belgariad.

Bastard.

Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: SugoiMe on August 24, 2016, 03:09:34 AM
Quote
And then David Eddings broke into my teenage bedroom, rifled my papers, and stole Riva as the name of Garion's eventual capital city in the Belgariad.

How dare him!
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on December 05, 2016, 10:26:44 PM
Dammit, people, this again!

(From a feature on Fast 8, the next car driving superhero movie)

http://www.polygon.com/2016/12/5/13846444/fast-8-featurette-trailer-debut (http://www.polygon.com/2016/12/5/13846444/fast-8-featurette-trailer-debut)

Quote
but Theron is a new addition to the cast. Universal previously confirmed that she would be playing Cipher, a new adversary that Dominic Toretto (Diesel) and his crew would have to take on.

This Cipher is in a huge tentpole summer blockbuster played by no less that Furiosa herself.

I've had a badass female bounty hunter named Cipher in my Supremacy universe for at least ten years as a side character. I am currently, as of this moment, writing an entire book about her.

Well, I guess her name is gonna change. >.>
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Lanko on December 05, 2016, 11:29:01 PM
Are you really going to change it, @tebakutis ? That seems a bit... drastic for me.

That's a Fast and Furious movie and a Sci-Fi (Thriller?) book. It's not like this Cipher is some kind of iconic character, like if you were naming a character Legolas or Tyrion.

And even before F&F and the ten years on the making of your book, there was a Cipher in The Matrix in 1999 anyway. Totally different character as well. And who knows how many before that.

With so much work on it I would definitely not change it!
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 06, 2016, 12:30:38 AM
If you feel you must change, I won't challenge that decision or idea. But as a linguist, and particularly because of the nature of her name, you have an opportunity to be quite clever. I like playing language games in my WIP, although I am clever and subtle about it, and few mean anything even to a speaker of the language I borrowed from.

I don't know the character or her background, but there's lots of opportunities to give her a reason to
1. Change her name (with Cipher being her Real Name)
2. Reveal that Cipher was exactly what it seems, an unrevealed mystery, and it's time for her to change her alias again, or revert to her True Name

Since you're changing her name, and her name literally means secret, here's my unsolicited, gender-appropriate name nominations with linguistic reasons:

Taina - ("Secret", Russian) correctly pronounced "Tine" - "ah". Adjective-forms: Taini (pronounced like "Tiny"), Tainya (close to Tanya, but pronounced "Tine-ya")

Silenda - "Secret" in Latin

Hope this is helpful.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Lanko on December 06, 2016, 12:32:49 AM
Just stole Silenda.

Can't use that anymore  ::)
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on December 06, 2016, 01:52:24 AM
Just stole Silenda.

Can't use that anymore  ::)

YOU SON OF A *****.

....

....

Just kidding. :)

I knew about the Cipher from the Matrix, actually, but he was both a tertiary character and a dude, so it didn't really register on my "this feels like people would notice it" sense. I think because of Charlize Theron's high profile (and she may possibly be in multiple F and F movies?) the name might be a bit more on people's radar, especially if I were to release the second book in, say 2018. It's more annoying than anything.

But now that Gem mentioned it, I *do* love the idea of using a non-English word with a similar meaning. The Cipher in my book is Latina, so I might actually think about using a Spanish word with some interesting connotations. Also, Cipher is simply her "bounty hunter" name (she keeps her actual identity secret, for obvious reasons, and does all her hunting in a suit of powered armor ala Ironman) and her actual real name won't change, just her moniker.

So I may just change it because I find I actually like a new word better. :0

Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 06, 2016, 02:13:25 AM
Random comment, since we were playing with foreign words for names: I like foreign words that are, for lack of a better term "emotional onomatopoeias", onomatopoeias for things with no sound. In Russian, Strach/Strax (rhymes with the German name "Bach") is such a one. To me it sounds like what it is: terror.
'Habibi' is "my love" in Arabic (and reminds me of the cry that Star Wars Jawas make: HABIBI!!) and my favorite, "Mallchik", "little boy" in Russian. It's a cute word and to hear a Russian woman use it while she tossles a little kid's hair makes me smile. German has a rough reputation for sounding rough, but Krankenhaus sounds like what it is, if you think of all the sick people in a hospital.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on December 08, 2016, 05:30:31 AM
FYI: I came up with a much, much better name.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: NinjaRaptor on December 27, 2016, 09:06:01 PM
Sometime ago I had this idea of an explorer traveling to a jungle country with dinosaurs, discovering a lost civilization, and falling in love with a native warrior/huntress. Together they would have to defend the lost civilization from invaders. It was very appealing to me on a gut level, but it didn't take long for me to pick up parallels with James Cameron's Avatar (which itself got criticized for cliches). It was a very disheartening experience.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on December 28, 2016, 03:55:24 AM
Sometime ago I had this idea of an explorer traveling to a jungle country with dinosaurs, discovering a lost civilization, and falling in love with a native warrior/huntress. Together they would have to defend the lost civilization from invaders. It was very appealing to me on a gut level, but it didn't take long for me to pick up parallels with James Cameron's Avatar (which itself got criticized for cliches). It was a very disheartening experience.

My sympathies! To be fair, Cameron also got slammed for ripping off Ferngully (no, seriously, Avatar has like the exact same plot) so it's not like his plot was original, either. :p
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: The Gem Cutter on December 28, 2016, 08:29:21 AM
Sometime ago I had this idea of an explorer traveling to a jungle country with dinosaurs, discovering a lost civilization, and falling in love with a native warrior/huntress. Together they would have to defend the lost civilization from invaders. It was very appealing to me on a gut level, but it didn't take long for me to pick up parallels with James Cameron's Avatar (which itself got criticized for cliches). It was a very disheartening experience.

My sympathies! To be fair, Cameron also got slammed for ripping off Ferngully (no, seriously, Avatar has like the exact same plot) so it's not like his plot was original, either. :p
Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, the list goes on. IMHO, because you've got dinosaurs, the more likely comparison is with Jurassic Park, which is totally different plot-wise. So you should consider proceeding imho. You can also reverse the trope by having the natives learn from the visitor, if there is any of that in your story.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: NinjaRaptor on December 28, 2016, 12:43:44 PM
Sometime ago I had this idea of an explorer traveling to a jungle country with dinosaurs, discovering a lost civilization, and falling in love with a native warrior/huntress. Together they would have to defend the lost civilization from invaders. It was very appealing to me on a gut level, but it didn't take long for me to pick up parallels with James Cameron's Avatar (which itself got criticized for cliches). It was a very disheartening experience.

My sympathies! To be fair, Cameron also got slammed for ripping off Ferngully (no, seriously, Avatar has like the exact same plot) so it's not like his plot was original, either. :p
Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, the list goes on. IMHO, because you've got dinosaurs, the more likely comparison is with Jurassic Park, which is totally different plot-wise. So you should consider proceeding imho. You can also reverse the trope by having the natives learn from the visitor, if there is any of that in your story.
I appreciate the encouragement. I will say the natives I had envisioned weren't the stereotypical "noble savages living in harmony with nature", but rather a relatively large and complex civilization. Think something along the lines of ancient Egypt, Ethiopia, or Great Zimbabwe. So maybe that's one factor that will twist things a bit.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: m3mnoch on December 28, 2016, 02:51:51 PM
Sometime ago I had this idea of an explorer traveling to a jungle country with dinosaurs, discovering a lost civilization, and falling in love with a native warrior/huntress. Together they would have to defend the lost civilization from invaders. It was very appealing to me on a gut level, but it didn't take long for me to pick up parallels with James Cameron's Avatar (which itself got criticized for cliches). It was a very disheartening experience.

My sympathies! To be fair, Cameron also got slammed for ripping off Ferngully (no, seriously, Avatar has like the exact same plot) so it's not like his plot was original, either. :p
Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, the list goes on. IMHO, because you've got dinosaurs, the more likely comparison is with Jurassic Park, which is totally different plot-wise. So you should consider proceeding imho. You can also reverse the trope by having the natives learn from the visitor, if there is any of that in your story.

this will always be my favorite image on that subject.

(http://images.huffingtonpost.com/gen/130283/original.jpg)
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: xiagan on December 28, 2016, 05:13:24 PM
Yep, @m3mnoch.

And this:
(http://myth.li/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/monomyths1.jpg)
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: S. K. Inkslinger on December 29, 2016, 10:08:32 AM
I once had an idea very similar to the Japanese anime "Your Name", in the romance and dream part, wayyy before I saw the film (which was today). Great thing I gave up on trying to write romance and drastically uphaul the idea, turning it to an idea for a horror short story instead (for which I am rather satisfied with).
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Peat on January 17, 2017, 01:01:00 PM
I was reminded the other day of an idea I came up with that would feature a group of Monster Hunters, trying to stay aloof from the politics of the Empire in their role as protectors of the common folk, owing much of their power to alchemical preparations.

"Oh, like The Witcher?" says the friend I show it to.

Err, yes, now you mention it... Curses! Foiled again!
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: MammaMamae on January 18, 2017, 04:12:47 AM
I started writing a Roman a Clef of my college years / young adulthood in Pittsburgh.  One of the major characters was based on my on and off college "boyfriend" / best friend; a sexually ambiguous bookstore clerk with daddy issues and an uncertain future, recently graduated from Pitt.

Lots of scenes in Oakland, Shadyside, and Schenley Park.

All I can say is darn you, Michael Chabon. 
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Lanko on October 13, 2017, 05:13:15 PM
I remember earlier in this thread I said it wouldn't be that important and perhaps could use the similar material anyway.

Well, now the joke's on me.

I have a WIP with pirates loosely based in a country like Venice. The Most Serene Republic of Venice, as History records it.
To make an allusion for it, I had the ruler called by "Your Serenity".

Five minutes ago I picked up The Goblin's Emperor and in the first chapter you can guess what they call the Goblin Emperor ...  ::)

Hm, what to do now. Follow my own advice and keep it anyway or change to something else like "Most Serene" (though I think this is a little too obvious and direct)? Hm.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: tebakutis on October 13, 2017, 05:44:34 PM
Hm, what to do now. Follow my own advice and keep it anyway or change to something else like "Most Serene" (though I think this is a little too obvious and direct)? Hm.

Ha! While I cannot offer the answer you seek, Lanko, I can at least offer sympathy. Hope you figure it out.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: RobertS on October 13, 2017, 05:55:50 PM
I have been composing and working on an epic fantasy series, "Headgames," for quite some time. It's a seven book series that is million words long so there are ample opportunities for possible similarities to other works. I have immersed myself in the parallels between myth, religion and folktales in order to try and find the beliefs that are native to humans. While stitching it all together I decided to put in a classic Texas family that would match close enough to real families that exist in rural Texas. In this case I wanted to have Norse Gods hiding their existence and fitting into their community. Since a lot of the settlers that left long family traditions here in Texas were named "Johnson," I decided to give my hidden Norse Gods that last name. I have had family friends with that name and it is one of my darling wife's family names. It is the fifth most common surname in Texas so I figured it was perfect for someone trying to hide their identity.
Then I found out about the New Zealand series about Norse gods titled, "The Almighty Johnson's."   :-\

I am keeping the name, no one who reads my writing is going to believe for a moment that I am ripping folk off, except where I am doing a homage with a twist. Originality is not something that I have trouble with. They may decide that I am crazy, and don't know where to put a comma. They would be correct.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Yora on October 13, 2017, 09:32:11 PM
I had a really cool idea for an alternative concept of multiple worlds of mortal and divine beings. And then Dungeons & Dragons came along with a new edition and completely overhauled the way it treats other worlds of divine beings. The real reason is that even when you craft something new, you're still using the same pool of existing elements that everyone else is using.

I think there's very little risk now of anyone else writing about elven barbarian kings riding dinosaurs. And if anyone does, that's great. The world as a whole will be so much richer for having multiple takes on it.  :P
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Lady Ty on October 13, 2017, 09:40:13 PM
@RobertS  Bad luck about the name.  This is an homage to American Gods by Neil Gaiman?
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: RobertS on October 13, 2017, 10:33:51 PM
@RobertS  Bad luck about the name.  This is an homage to American Gods by Neil Gaiman?
Gaiman, to me is one of the driving forces in literature today. Since I have read his work, and loved it, my thoughts on these things are naturally more than just an homage. Gaimen explores things in a way that influences ones shaping of ideas.
Most of my thoughts on this part of the story come from the Prose Edda and Poetic Edda. I like to use original sources or as close as I can get. http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/ice/index.htm (http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/ice/index.htm) Tom Holt, Rodger Zelazny, Wilhelm Wagner and Neil Gaiman are all strong influences though.

Gaiman's gods are evolved from the thoughts of men. In my stories they evolved from geology. While twisting things together, I try to remain true to the original concepts and myths. In many of the myths, the gods were descended from the giants. As were cyclops, ogres, trolls and dwarves. The giants were made by cataclysm and natural forces. Each generation seemed to be less brute force but more evolved. Their children were made by parts of the giants and by the giants will.

My premise is that the Fairytales, myths, religions and legends are all mostly true. The shuffle is figuring out how to put the puzzle together into a coherent whole.  The result is a sort of universal fairy theory.
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Lady Ty on October 13, 2017, 10:47:05 PM
Thanks RobertS. Have been enjoying a variety of stories involving old Gods in various urban settings and look forward to yours in due course.
@Lanko The use of the word Serene in various forms  was pretty common in many old  European titles although doubtful if nowadays. You should use whatever you want, regardless of The Goblin Emperor. Been a while since I read it but it left me with impression of an Oriental court at the time anyway. I enjoyed it hope you do as well. ;D
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Peat on October 13, 2017, 11:31:20 PM
I had a really cool idea for an alternative concept of multiple worlds of mortal and divine beings. And then Dungeons & Dragons came along with a new edition and completely overhauled the way it treats other worlds of divine beings. The real reason is that even when you craft something new, you're still using the same pool of existing elements that everyone else is using.

I think there's very little risk now of anyone else writing about elven barbarian kings riding dinosaurs. And if anyone does, that's great. The world as a whole will be so much richer for having multiple takes on it.  :P

40K's Exodites. But they never did too much with them and they were a really cool idea, so go wild :D
Title: Re: The Originality Thread! (For Authors and Tears)
Post by: Lanko on October 14, 2017, 12:53:52 AM
I had a really cool idea for an alternative concept of multiple worlds of mortal and divine beings. And then Dungeons & Dragons came along with a new edition and completely overhauled the way it treats other worlds of divine beings. The real reason is that even when you craft something new, you're still using the same pool of existing elements that everyone else is using.

I think there's very little risk now of anyone else writing about elven barbarian kings riding dinosaurs. And if anyone does, that's great. The world as a whole will be so much richer for having multiple takes on it.  :P

40K's Exodites. But they never did too much with them and they were a really cool idea, so go wild :D

I can probably also cite the Elves in Magic:The Gathering during two or three blocks (Zendikar and Shards of Alara come to mind). Aside images and flavor texts, at best there are short stories only.