"I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

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paperxxflowers
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"I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

Post by paperxxflowers » June 25th, 2012, 1:10 pm

Has any other writer stumbled upon this? I have, and hate it. I was very proud of my idea. But has anybody else had an idea, shared it and gotten back "Oh so it’s like -insert tittle of movie-book-anime-videogame".
It could be just one thing in your idea that sends your listeners mind into remembering something they have seen or read. For me, I wasn’t thinking of anything when I came up with the idea, what it was compared to wasn’t even in my head….. let me give you an idea using a book I hope we all know. I wasn’t like: “OMG I’m gonna write a book about a boy who gets a scar from a dark Lord and goes to magical school and defeats said Lord after a long few years at magical school.”
It was more like: “I’m gonna write a book about a magical kid going to school.” I mean ideas, being so many of them around, will be similar in some ways, but I think it’s important to make them your own.
Anyhow, has any other writer experienced this while sharing thoughts? How did you handle it? How should I?

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Re: "I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

Post by Mark.W.Carson » June 25th, 2012, 2:07 pm

Concepts are cheaper than implementation. If you write a good book about a kid at a magical school, it may always be compared to Harry Potter, but if you do it well, it may stand alone just fine. Make it your own. Harry was not the first kid at a school for wizards

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Re: "I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

Post by dios4vida » June 25th, 2012, 2:56 pm

I did that a few times, until I finally just stopped sharing my ideas when I got them. It sounds sad, like I'm sulking and refusing to participate in the party or something, but I've found that the thrill of the Shiny New Idea can sooooo easily be tarnished by others who don't see your vision. And then, something you're super passionate and excited about is suddenly burdened in your mind with "I have to make it different than Harry Potter!" and it will never be the book it could have been because you'll second guess everything or intentionally plot around a certain aspect and that just won't work.

I'll only share my ideas with a few specific people (those who get excited with me, encourage me, and don't poke fun or spoil the 'moment' for me) and even then, I'll only share when it's grown enough through writing and plotting that it's more than just a concept. For instance, I didn't tell anyone about my current WIP until I could talk about it more than "Hey, I've got this idea about a sentient sword!" or something like that. Once I could answer a question about characters, villians, or basic specifics (oxymoronic, I know, but it's true) then I know I can discuss it with my two or three trusted companions.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: "I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

Post by Sommer Leigh » June 25th, 2012, 2:58 pm

Don't let the comment bother you. It's a natural reaction for anyone, not just when it comes to book ideas. How many conversations about movies have you been in when someone recommending a new movie added, "It's sort of like the movie XYZ." Ever notice how much those movies aren't really a like at all except maybe they fall in the same genre?

People need frames of reference for EVERYTHING. It's how we process the world. While it may seem painful to be compared to someone else, it's not, honestly. Especially when they compare it to something they like.

For example, when non-readers are talking to about a horror book, they'll often say, "Oh, so like Stephen King?"
Or a fantasy story.... "Oh, so like Lord of the Rings?"

It's easier for people to get excited about something they frame with familiarity. Sometimes when I talk about my YA about superheroes and supervillains, when I lose them on the nerdy comic book references, I'll say, "Did you like the movie X-Men: First Class? Ok, it's sort of like that." Which it's not, but it's close enough that it gets the potential reader into my superhero world. Then they seem to "understand" a little better when I explain the plot.

This is especially true in genre writing, but there are a lot of very similar elements across the board. How you execute those elements will decide whether you're writing a carbon copy of something else or something original. If you write a zombie novel, chances are you're going to have to deal with zombies either rising from the grave or transfering the disease like a virus. Both have been done to death (pun intended) but that doesn't mean everyone who makes a zombie virus story is going to write the same story or that they stole from 28 Days Later or whatever. They are just story elements. Familiar, recognizable story elements. What are you going to do with them to make them yours?
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paperxxflowers
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Re: "I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

Post by paperxxflowers » June 25th, 2012, 6:15 pm

I loved reading your feedbacks. It was nice of you all to share, and I admit... it did make me feel better. It's true, people do compare to get a better understanding. I know if someone is telling me I should watch/read/ play something they will add "It's like...." and it interests me.

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Re: "I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

Post by polymath » June 25th, 2012, 7:06 pm

A majority of literature's opus emulates or reimagines or reinvents what's come before. The more entertaining in whatever vein readers favor a particular premise or mannerism, the more copycatted the concept will be.

Every once in a while something genuinely new will come along. It's been a while. When what's new sparks a new movement, writers emulating whatever novelty come out of the blue in hordes. Some build upon the new circumstance, some fall shy, some take it in new directions.

Free indirect discourse is one example of something new for its time, arguably introduced by Jane Austen. Close narrative distance, a major departure from omniscient narration's open, lecturing and preaching narrative distance is another.

Ideas are not unique to individuals. Humans, being social beings, suffer similar problems wanting satisfaction. Portraying the problems and the satisfactions of them has infinite artistic possibilities though, and unique characters in unique settings and unique events. The challenge as I see it is putting them together in a way that is both unique and familiar, and exhilarating.

Before the Potter saga, young adult literature has focused on a gifted youth struggling for identity realization in an alienating and hostile fostering enviroment: school and/or step family, away from nurturing natal family life, real or figurative orphan with unique gifts, coming of age initiation into adult life. The central problem has been not fitting in and satisfaction has been forging a meaningful place and sense of belonging in an adult world. Change one or more, make the problem wanting satisfaction, the characters, the settings, the events familiar but unique, and any broad premise becomes sufficiently artistic.

Young adult literature's fixation on the coming of age premise is an imperative biological, cultural, and social phenomena; partly imposed by nature, partly imposed by adults, partly imposed by young adults' expectations. I'd like to see a writer stand the coming of age premise on its head.
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Re: "I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

Post by MattLarkin » June 28th, 2012, 10:58 am

dios4vida wrote:I did that a few times, until I finally just stopped sharing my ideas when I got them. It sounds sad, like I'm sulking and refusing to participate in the party or something, but I've found that the thrill of the Shiny New Idea can sooooo easily be tarnished by others who don't see your vision. And then, something you're super passionate and excited about is suddenly burdened in your mind with "I have to make it different than Harry Potter!" and it will never be the book it could have been because you'll second guess everything or intentionally plot around a certain aspect and that just won't work.

I'll only share my ideas with a few specific people (those who get excited with me, encourage me, and don't poke fun or spoil the 'moment' for me) and even then, I'll only share when it's grown enough through writing and plotting that it's more than just a concept. For instance, I didn't tell anyone about my current WIP until I could talk about it more than "Hey, I've got this idea about a sentient sword!" or something like that. Once I could answer a question about characters, villians, or basic specifics (oxymoronic, I know, but it's true) then I know I can discuss it with my two or three trusted companions.
Seriously, I'm her critique partner and I barely know what I'm gonna get when I finally get the file :D

Er, wait... Sentient sword? Is that the same story we've been talking about, Brenda? :?:
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Re: "I thought of a novel" "Oh! so it's like so and so" "... :("

Post by dios4vida » June 28th, 2012, 11:01 am

MattLarkin wrote:
dios4vida wrote:I did that a few times, until I finally just stopped sharing my ideas when I got them. It sounds sad, like I'm sulking and refusing to participate in the party or something, but I've found that the thrill of the Shiny New Idea can sooooo easily be tarnished by others who don't see your vision. And then, something you're super passionate and excited about is suddenly burdened in your mind with "I have to make it different than Harry Potter!" and it will never be the book it could have been because you'll second guess everything or intentionally plot around a certain aspect and that just won't work.

I'll only share my ideas with a few specific people (those who get excited with me, encourage me, and don't poke fun or spoil the 'moment' for me) and even then, I'll only share when it's grown enough through writing and plotting that it's more than just a concept. For instance, I didn't tell anyone about my current WIP until I could talk about it more than "Hey, I've got this idea about a sentient sword!" or something like that. Once I could answer a question about characters, villians, or basic specifics (oxymoronic, I know, but it's true) then I know I can discuss it with my two or three trusted companions.
Seriously, I'm her critique partner and I barely know what I'm gonna get when I finally get the file :D

Er, wait... Sentient sword? Is that the same story we've been talking about, Brenda? :?:
Hee hee - no Matt, that's my other WIP. :) And it's not like I haven't wanted to tell you what this book's about, it's just that it's been such a horrendous mess up til now that describing the basic story has been a nightmare!!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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