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Author Topic: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First  (Read 1309 times)

Offline Mike Brooks

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Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« on: April 24, 2017, 10:33:20 PM »
I've been reading The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone recently, and it's sparked a semi-regular occurrence: the frustration that someone has had a really good idea, but that they don't seem to have properly followed through on it.

I mean, I really like the novels, but one of the central concepts seems to lend itself to something that strikes me as so obvious that I can't believe he hasn't covered it at all. It's an idea that now I really want to write about, and I think that part's different enough to what he's done that it would be valid, but the rest of it might not be.

Damn it!
I'm an angel. I kill firstborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. I even, when I feel like it, rip the souls from little girls, and from now till kingdom come, the only thing you can count on, in your existence, is never understanding why.

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Offline Nora

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Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 12:50:05 AM »
Can you expend?? Mayhaps we can help you polish that into a totally viable idea of its own? How unique is it?

I get how you can't steal Allomancy from Sanderson, but metal-based magic doesn't have a ring on its finger right?
Is it that the idea is too specific?
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2017, 05:08:18 AM »
Go out and write it. There's nothing wrong with taking somebody else's idea, twisting it around, and making it even better. That's part of the fun of writing.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2017, 10:25:50 AM »
The other part is of course finding the time amidst all the *other* writing I need to be doing... Maybe if the current fantasy series doesn't land a publishing deal!
I'm an angel. I kill firstborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. I even, when I feel like it, rip the souls from little girls, and from now till kingdom come, the only thing you can count on, in your existence, is never understanding why.

http://mikebrooks.co.uk

Offline Ray McCarthy

Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2017, 11:37:46 AM »
Ideas are nearly irrelevant. The actual story, characters, dialogue etc are what matters. I doubt there are genuinely new ideas for stories (that are actually readable).

It's like entrepreneur stuff. That's about hard work, skill, money and luck. A great idea is rarely a route to business success.

See TV Tropes. Great for writers too.
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2017, 08:29:42 PM »
Ideas are nearly irrelevant. The actual story, characters, dialogue etc are what matters.

This idea is something that would have a huge impact on the story and the characters - it would be a huge part of the world-building.
I'm an angel. I kill firstborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. I even, when I feel like it, rip the souls from little girls, and from now till kingdom come, the only thing you can count on, in your existence, is never understanding why.

http://mikebrooks.co.uk

Offline Ray McCarthy

Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2017, 10:49:26 PM »
So write the actual story.
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2017, 11:08:33 PM »
Can you expend?? Mayhaps we can help you polish that into a totally viable idea of its own? How unique is it?

I'm three books into the Craft Sequence and everyone uses their soul as currency: gods, sorcerers, laypeople. So money is infused with soul. Magic is performed using your soul. Gods and mighty sorcerers have contracts where they've agreed to provide a certain amount of power to do a thing - provide heat or water to a city, for example - which comes out of their soul.

What seems a hugely-obvious thing to me, but hasn't been covered by him (or at least, not yet - maybe it'll crop up in the last two?) is that if everyone is passing soul backwards and forwards like money, essentially everyone has the same soul. Like, if you pay me a fiver for something, that money is now mine. I don't consider it to have been yours at one point, because you would have got it from someone else in the first place, and so on and so on. So as soon as you enter into any form of commerce or transaction in his world you're essentially tying yourself into one massive world-spanning soul. So what I want to explore is what impact that has if you actually treat it as that. If you have a people that use their own souls as currency with each other, does that lessen the divisions between individuals? Would they all start to see themselves as extensions of the same being? Would you get a situation where you have sentient beings with theory of mind who don't actually view themselves as individuals, but more as part of a giant, multi-part organism? That would be a drastic shift from pretty much any fiction I've ever read. And then if you had people who didn't engage in that - the equivalent of "off the grid" survival/paranoia nuts, I guess, or some sort of vampire analogies who were born without souls at all - then they would surely be treated as total pariahs.

It seemed interesting (and obvious) to me, anyway.
I'm an angel. I kill firstborns while their mamas watch. I turn cities into salt. I even, when I feel like it, rip the souls from little girls, and from now till kingdom come, the only thing you can count on, in your existence, is never understanding why.

http://mikebrooks.co.uk

Offline Nora

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Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2017, 12:01:19 AM »
OK. Very interesting, and here are my two first, off the top of my head ideas when I hear of the concept:

- Sanderson, in Warbreaker, has the concept of biochromatic breath. And while biochroma renders the idea more complex, the idea that we're all born with one breath, and can give it away or receive and stockpile it from others, is pretty interesting, and a cousin of the soul-currency idea. Obviously the more breath you have the richer you are. The constraints were also interesting, and lead me to ask, before getting to my second point, this question : How much soul does one have to give away? Can a billionaire infuse every penny he owns? Or does the already infused 'money' he gets adds to his personal soul? Does that alter people? Can you run out of soul?

second point :

- I can't effing believe this story was from Andy Weir all along, but so does the internet tell me. I first encountered it on 4chan years ago. Best post the whole thing :

http://www.galactanet.com/oneoff/theegg_mod.html

I think both are just examples of similar riffs on the general concepts of "soul as currency" and "humanity as one soul" and I don't put them forward so much to give fodder for thoughts but to further my point that you totally should make the idea your own, tinker it a bit and fit it to a story, boom! Without any second thoughts or hesitation.
It's a great concept, go for it.
"She will need coffee soon, or molecular degeneration will set in. Her French phrasing will take over even more strongly, and soon she will dissolve into a puddle of alienation and Kierkegaardian despair."  ~ Jmack

Wishy washy lyricism and maudlin unrequited love are my specialty - so said Lady_Ty

Offline CryptofCthulhu

Re: Damn You For Getting To That Idea First
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2017, 11:28:52 AM »
Take the idea and make it your own. Simple as that.
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