Hey, that's MY idea! (well . . . sort of) [7/1: situation #2 added]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by lazykbys_left, Jun 24, 2006.

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  1. lazykbys_left

    lazykbys_left Jedi Padawan star 4

    Feb 17, 2005
    Here's the hypothetical situation:

    You're halfway through writing a long-ish fic when someone posts a vig that uses one of "your" ideas. It's not stealing since you've never told anyone about the unfinished fic in any way. But there's a chance that, when you post it, people will think you stole the idea. What would you do?

    Myself, I would just finish my story and post it.

    - lazy

    EDIT: I've added a slightly modified situation. In case you don't feel like looking for it, here it is:

    You've been bitten by a mild plot bunny. It's been done before - and done well. Or perhaps it's been done lots of times, maybe even to the point of becoming a cliché. What would you do?

    My answer is the same as before: write it and post it.

    - lazy
  2. Persephone_Kore

    Persephone_Kore Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 19, 2006
    I'd have to agree. It can feel more awkward when it's an uncommon idea, I know. (From other fandoms. Another thing that feels awkward is talking about past fic experiences when nobody here has reason to think I've written anything. ;)) But it's not like it's rare for people to have similar fic ideas. Or be inspired by other people's fic, even to the point of creating whole mini-subgenres.
  3. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    I've had this happen several times and the other way around. Go ahead and do your version and be confident in the knowledge that yours is cool in its own way.
  4. magehound

    magehound Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 4, 2006
    I know what you mean. I was looking thru some J/TK fanfic on another site, and I ran across a songfic idea using the same song i had wanted to use. Granted, their idea for the story wasn't exactly a happy one, like mine, but then i look at it this way.

    For every single idea i have, no matter how crazy or kriffed up it may be, I know that somewhere out in this world are at least 1,000 people who believe it. They may not all be together in a group. but they Are out there. So, to quote an old favorite of mine, "There is nothing new under the sun." But that doesn't mean I'm not gonna try. sure they might have taken my general idea(with/without knowing it)but I can give the fic a spin that no one else can. same goes for all of you. No one else sees the world exactly the same as you, so no one else can write the exact same story that you could. /end philosophy. :D
  5. Healer_Leona

    Healer_Leona Squirrel Wrangler of Fun & Games star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Jul 7, 2000
    I agree. Finish it and go ahead and post it. Happens all the time when people get the same ideas for fics.
  6. Kidan

    Kidan TFN EU Staff star 5 VIP

    Jul 20, 2003
    who was it that said there's only 5 true plots in the world?

    Just remember, its not the plot bunny, but the implementation that's important....
  7. ___Sithspawn___

    ___Sithspawn___ Jedi Youngling star 3

    Aug 17, 2004
    Yeah, it's definitely how you write the bunny that matters. I would finish it with extra effort.
  8. KELIA

    KELIA Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 26, 2005
    I agree the best thing you can do is finish your story and post it.

    While the general plot idea may be the same, it's unlikely the stories will be exactly alike.
    It's all in the little details and how it's told.

  9. SithGirl132

    SithGirl132 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 6, 2005
    you should just post the story. great minds think alike, right?
  10. Noelie

    Noelie Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 11, 2005
    Post your story: You can't steal an idea for all there are some on this board that insist that is the case.. No one on this really great idea for a thread.

    If the first person has a problem it really is their problem.

  11. ZebulaNebula

    ZebulaNebula Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 10, 2005
    Post the end of the fic. If you're feeling especially brave, reply to the 'offending' vig, making an offhand comment about doing something similar in a bigger fic. You'll be in the clear, and may even get another reader out of it.
  12. magehound

    magehound Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 4, 2006
    I agree with this. I did it with my songfic that used "Wake Me Up Inside". I ran a search beforehand, and it turned out someone had already used the song. last year. I still sent them a PM saying basically that i was going to the same thing, different take on it. They replied back that it wasn't any big deal to them, and thanks for asking. That cleared my mind so I could write unhindered.
  13. SpiritofEowyn

    SpiritofEowyn Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 5, 2005
    I know that feeling. I posted a story that I thought was original because I hadn't seen anyone use a certain cannon character in fics. Of course, the same day, two different people had the character is theirs. At first I thought 'Oh! They were inspired by me' then realized, 'great minds think alike' And since we're all SW fans here, it's even easier for us to get similar plot bunnies.

    And like someone else said, you may get a reader out of it, because you're thinking on the same wavelength and care about the same characters.

    4 common Plots.

    Man v.s Man.

    Man v.s Nature.

    Man v.s self.

    Man v.s Society?
  14. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2005
    I go with the idea that there are a lot of shared themes in storytelling and quite often writers overlap in some areas. A few years ago I led my old writer's group through Ronald Tobias' book "20 Master Plots". It's an awesome resource if anyone is looking for good plot bunny food and a really good tool for developing plots.

    Here were Tobias' "Master Plots". These are thematic plots built utilizing elements of the different types of conflict, e.g., man vs. man.

    1. Quest
    2. Adventure
    3. Pursuit
    4. Rescue
    5. Escape
    6. Revenge
    7. The Riddle
    8. Rivalry
    9. Underdog
    X. Temptation
    1. Metamorphosis (literal change)
    2. Transformation
    3. Maturation
    4. Love
    5. Forbidden Love
    6. Sacrifice
    7. Discovery
    8. Wretched Excess
    9. Ascension
    XX. Decension

    Again it's a great read and gives you some really good ideas as to how to structure each of the different plot types (including checklists and discussions about pitfalls to avoid). There's no "Here's how to write and this is all you can write" formula out there and I'm certainly not promoting that sort of thing by promoting this book, but it really helps cultivate a good sense of what plot is and when I used it with my group we had a fabulous time playing with it. Several members of the group walked away from our discussions and activities with a much better grasp on plot structuring--I know I did (even though I am loathe to accept his ditinction between metamorphosis and transformation).
  15. KILIK

    KILIK Jedi Master star 4

    May 21, 2005
    I would just post it.
  16. mastermeg_0228

    mastermeg_0228 Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 24, 2006
    i actually recently ran into this problem and decided to just post the fic...if the person really takes offense to it then they don't have to read it...that's how i look at it!

    we're all completely different when we right...if i asked 10 people to write me a paragraph describing the same dog...i would have 10 different paragraphs! my story is just another take on that dog!

    great idea for a thread!

  17. magehound

    magehound Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 4, 2006
    now that was definitely short, sweet, and to the point.
  18. Layren

    Layren Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 28, 2003
    I'd like to point out that posting a review and commenting like that is akin to advertising to some authors and is extremely offensive and makes you less likely to gain readers than more likely.

    As for what I'd do, just go ahead and post the story. No two stories are exactly alike even if you're using the same plot bunny, unless one person directly copied, but that's a whole different can of worms.
  19. ZebulaNebula

    ZebulaNebula Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 10, 2005
    True ... I'd only do that if I knew the author wasn't the type to take offense. But then again, my own circle of writers on the site is pretty tight. And I don't usually hunt down similarly-themed fics in other eras - but I have run across fics by accident that share plot points by accident.

    Edit: and if I knew it was someone kinda uptight about originality, I'd rewrite the fic. The key is to know the other author.
  20. oqidaun

    oqidaun Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2005
    Posting a link to your own fic in another person's fic is pimping, so please don't do that. If you wanted to discuss the similiarities in a neutral manner with the other author I would suggest sending a PM; however, to post your own link in their story thread is unacceptable.
  21. CodyMonKenobi

    CodyMonKenobi Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 29, 2001
    Honestly very few people come up with original ideas, everything that you could write has been done by somebody before. However you have a defferent spin on the idea, or perspective. So no matter how simalar your stories will be different. So me myself I would post it, I like feedback on my stories but at the same time I write them for myself. So I would want to see it completed and the see how others react to it.
  22. YodaKenobi

    YodaKenobi VIP star 6 VIP

    May 27, 2003
    I always PM them and tell them to stop stealing my ideas or I'll break their time machine.
  23. Jedi-2B

    Jedi-2B Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 2, 2000
    A very timely topic for me. I've been jotting down ideas for a new fic since last year (I'm a slow writer, I know), and just sent a few preview chapters to my beta. And then lo and behold, I read the beginning of a new fic by someone that has the same premise happening to the same character that I'm featuring. I don't want to give up on the fic, and I think my writing style is different enough from that author's that there shouldn't be a problem. I plan on doing an author's note at the beginning saying that I started on this idea a long time ago, and any similarities to other fics is purely coincidental. This isn't the first time that particular plotline has been used, and it certainly won't be the last. Like someone said earlier, people can and do have similar ideas. Even the profics recycle plotlines.
  24. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 20, 2002
    Great thread. [face_laugh]

    I would keep on writing my story. I think if you're truly in love with your fic (I mean that in the best way possible :D ), the differences between what you've written and what someone else has written will shine. Myself, I'd send the other author a PM as a heads-up: Hi, like your fic, had a similar idea, just wanted to let you know. I'd probably even reply to the other story just to say I liked it, but I wouldn't say anything about having the same idea. To me, that just makes things even more awkward, and you might end up pissing off the other author.
  25. ZebulaNebula

    ZebulaNebula Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 10, 2005
    I wouldn't link it ... I'd just make a remark such as "Love what you did with Han and Leia ... I am doing something along those lines with Jaina and Jag in a few weeks." No mention of even the fic's name ... let alone a link.
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