They say there is no such thing as a new idea.
I’ve always known this and I’ve always told myself that stories are unique in the ways they are told. Other people may have written something similar to your book, but it will never be your book.
That said, I have moments when I can’t quite believe what I’m reading. Where I am reading someone else’s work and screaming internally “but that’s my idea!”… Of course, it isn’t my idea. These authors have written their books far earlier than me, plus mine sits in the first draft stages at a measly 16,000 words, whilst theirs exists as parts of completed series adorning library shelves.
I thought I’d list two superb stories that have had the cheek to, not only pluck ideas from my head years before I had them, but also to convey them on paper better than I ever could hope to.
A Darker Shade of Magic
I haven’t actually finished V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, it’s my current read, but what I do know is that it is a so-far wonderful book. It has a very “Howls Moving Castle” feel, at least so far to me. It does, however follow a Blood Mage – eye twitch – Who has dealings with the King of his world – both eyes twitch – And he’s called Kell, which, whilst being half of my surname, is almost like Kolast… Can I get away with that one? They both begin with K?
That said, A Darker Shade of Magic is taking things in a direction I wasn’t. There’s a plot reveal, fairly near the start of the book, which definitely brought on my twitches, but at the end of the day the book is going for something that I’m not.
The Painted Man
Again, another fantastic book, and one I’ve actually read. It’s a book that came with numerous recommendations from numerous people. One problem with Peter V. Brett’s The Painted Man, though, was that from the title I could already tell it was going to touch on something Kolast, the main character in my book, utilises himself. That is, magical runes on his body. Now in The Painted Man, these act more as wards; protection from the evil creatures of his world. On the other hand, Kolast has specific spells etched into his skin. Still, it was an idea I thought was unique until I came across The Painted Man. I had to say drat to that one.
Again, this fantastic book does touch upon elements that are within Remembrance of Blood, but it doesn’t touch on them all. Both have a right to exist, and neither are copies of the other. Multiple variations of similar ideas can all exist at once. If anything, my original idea of a “Painted” body was from a couple of scenes at the end of Full Metal Alchemist – not sure why there’s an Anime theme running through todays WiP Wednesday.
So, what have I learnt? I’ve learnt that you’re always going to run into ideas you’ve perpetrated yourself. I’ve learn that, even if you don’t run into them, they will still exist in the world around you. Had I not picked up either of these books, someone could have accused me at a later date of copying despite having never read them. I think the most important aspect is to take these themes and make them your own. Creativity is, in itself, a very amazing thing; there’s plenty of room for all interpretations of it to exist at once. We should celebrate each other’s creative nature and, if we happen to stumble on similar ideas, maybe it’s just a beautiful sign that we’re not completely, utterly mad?
Have you had an experience like this? Please comment below!
Now. Have you stuck with me throughout this post? Firstly, Thank you! Secondly, it’s time for an Offer:
An Offer. (Told you)
For those of you that don’t know, I am moving house. It’s one of the most exciting and important moments of my life. It’s also one of the most time consuming.
That means that, between now and next Wednesday I won’t be doing much writing at all. I will try to take part in some prompts, Jane’s Microfiction’s and Sonya’s Thee Line Tales. I won’t, however, be able to get much done on Remembrance in Blood. So, in keeping with the theme of celebrating each other’s creativity, I’m opening up the spot! I was wondering if any of my readers, new and old alike, have a work in progress they would like to feature on my Work In Progress Wednesday?
The only things I’d ask of you are that it’s a Work in Progress (I mean, it’s in the title) so it can’t be published. It could be at any stage though. Idea, First Draft, Second Draft, Editing… Anywhere along the process that your work is still being… worked!
I’d ask you to write a little article about your WiP. It can be anything you like as long as it relates to your work. Want to introduce your plot? Your themes? Your characters? Talk about something that inspires you, or something you’ve learnt along the way? Anything at all! I’ve also drafted up a few WiP-related questions, which I’d willing throw your way if you’d be more comfortable with an interview format!
If this sounds like you, or someone you know, comment below!
At the moment, this is a one-time offer! But if it works? If more than one person actually wants a spot? I’ll start opening it up more often as a regular feature. I can’t promise guaranteed hits, I can’t even promise any interest, but I’m finding that these WiP Wednesdays prove to be a useful exercise that helps you reflect on your own work. That, in itself, might be worth it.