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Theme concurrence

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by JediGaladriel, Jan 8, 2002.

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  1. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    I just had this happen to me, and I'm pretty much gnashing my teeth in annoyance.

    I've been working on a story called "Family Portraits" for awhile -- I started posting it last month on the forums, but it has been kicking around my hard drive for awhile in various states of outline, since I brainstormed for ten JQ ideas to see if I could develop any. This is the one that appealed to me most -- Siri, Obi-Wan, and Anakin posing as a family on a planet with rampant Jediphobia. So I started writing it.

    Now, I go to my guestbook at VM (it's not a VM story), and there are notes from people saying they've been working on a story with the same theme for months. They gave me a link. It's there. There are significant differences that I can gather from the description, but there it is, with the three of them (and Siri's padawan, whom I don't have, because one of my issues is her lack of same), on a hostile planet...

    Now, I never saw it before, and I can be reasonably sure that they haven't been raiding my hard drive, so why do I feel like screaming and tearing my hair out? Has anyone else had this happen?

    Just venting.
     
  2. Aftermath

    Aftermath Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2001
    You're not the only one. :) My problem is that 'official' people keep stealing my ideas. Pre-1999 I started brainstorming on plot involving an invasion from outside the known galaxy (mine was from the Unknown Regions). I didn't know anything about the Yuuzhan Vong until a long time after that. Then I read Vector Prime and nearly went nuts. The whole notion of warriors from the unknown (thought mine were human and force senstive) seemed too close from my comfort. I called the story off for a while and just recently restarted the idea with some modifications. Right now though I'm torn between writing that story and writing an AU. I don't have time to write both at once.


    PS. If anyone wants to help me with this dilemma, go to my poll "Which story should I write first?" It would be appreciated.
     
  3. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    I keep having the same thing happen, frequently with you. Like I decided to start The Other Half after reading a book about Nuremberg and then got on the boards to discover that you were writing The Penitent. Or I had an idea for a Vader/Padme OT AU story that covered the entire trilogy and then you and your people did By the Grace of Lady Vader. Or Jacinta_Kenobi starting her story about Qui-Gon's first apprentice when I started Wayward Beings about the same thing. Last year, someone yelled at me for plaigarizing because I wrote a story in which Luke, Leia and Vader meet up between ESB and ROTJ and MJ Mink did one with the same theme. I'd say "great minds think alike", but 1) I'm not a great mind and 2) it annoys the heck out of me sometimes because every time I do something, there's always someone doing it so much better. GAH!
     
  4. Jane Jinn

    Jane Jinn Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 12, 2000
    Great minds think alike?

    I haven't experienced this myself. Sadly, nobody wants -my- ideas.

    But I've heard of it happening to others. One of the theories that was put forward was, if I remember it correctly (probably not), something about the ideas having been released from the brain cells of the first person and floating around in space to be picked up by someone else who is receptive to that particular, erm, wavelength or whatever.
     
  5. ami-padme

    ami-padme Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 19, 1999
    so why do I feel like screaming and tearing my hair out?

    Because it sucks. ;)


    Even though we all write in the same universe (and many of us write for popular subgenres within that universe), as an author, one likes to think of themselves as being original or unique in one way or another when it comes to storytelling. So when we're not, it's irksome. Even in a fairly benign situation like this one, where it just seems that two people had a similar idea. It's a conceit, I suppose (though not necessarily an unhealthy one), but we like to think that we're carving out our own little niche here, and it's a little annoying when people horn in our space. ;)


    At least, that's my psycho-babble analysis. :p Since this seems to be just a random thing, both authors should just keep writing. :D
     
  6. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    I suppose it happens a lot. It just surprised me to find it in my guestbook. :)

    Yeah, it does suck. And I hereby apologize to other people to whom this has happened with my stories.

    (BTW, Jane, don't know about ideas, but there's a purple pullover sweater that O-W's been wondering if he could still fit into... ;) )
     
  7. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    No need to apologize; it's just very frustrating, as you well know. At least you're the upper hand. Oh, well, all great things are in Massachusetts.
     
  8. Kit'

    Kit' Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 1999
    I wouldn't stress too much J-G. Although, I must admitt howw irritating it would be to come across something like that (never happened to me...of course that would mean I would have to *have* plot bunnies in the first place). However, I have seen it happen quite a lot over the past three years on this board....

    The thing is, is that you might have the same ideas, but it really depends on how you portray the subject, what you do with it, your writing style and the ideas you come up with...many of these might be the same, but it doesn't really matter because everyone will treat a different subject matter differently.

    I don't know if that made sense. I can understand how annoying it must be....but just remember "great minds think alike" which may go some way towards explaining why I have no plot bunnies at the moment

    Kithera
     
  9. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    I agree. I have seen the same theme done a thousand different ways and enjoyed most of them. Heck, we're all here borrowing themes, but we do it individually and that's what makes it entertaining.
     
  10. Liz Skywalker

    Liz Skywalker Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jun 13, 2000
    just don't flame them. I mentioned on a mailing list that I was working on a slave luke story (this must've been before I started 'up from slavery' posted here as AU LUKE!!!) and I got two replies to me personlaly. One was from a friend saying that she was also working on one, but that we have such different writing styles that it would be cool to see what I would do to the idea. (I've since read hers and it's amazingly good. And it's absolutly NOTHING like my story). The other was a flame from someone saying that I'm a idea theif and that she wrote that story a year ago and got it published in a 'zine and I'm stealing her ideas. I've never read a 'zine in my life. I don't have the money to buy 'zines. I have been flamed twice for stealing ideas from 'zines...which I've never even heard of. :(
     
  11. Melyanna

    Melyanna Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2001
    Well, JG, someone once said that all great themes in literature have already been written by Shakespeare. I don't know if that's entirely true, but I can say that old ideas are often transformed into new things, and often something can spark the same ideas in different people, as Ish pointed out with her stories.

    And writing isn't the only area in which this happens. As some of you know, I'm a music major, and when I listen to "Duel of the Fates" I hear the first movement of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. The theme from The Right Stuff calls to mind one of the Tchaikowsky violin concertos. But that's more of theme reoccurance. Yet at the same time, I play and sing modern compositions, or compositions that are contemporary, and they have similar themes. When the artists (of any kind) comes from the same society and circumstances, the art they produce will be similar, since the surroundings affect the product.

    Hope that helps somewhat.
    Mel
     
  12. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    People can be altogether too hypersensitive on this matter. I'm flattered if anyone borrows an idea in the first place, intrigued if we share a common idea, but different methods, etc. etc. I just throw a minor hissy fit for my selfish reasons because I always know theirs is better. And then I get over it and enjoy it.
     
  13. Gandalf the Grey

    Gandalf the Grey Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    May 14, 2000
    The Star Wars main theme bears a suspicious resemblance to an old Scottish bagpipe tune. Incidentally, you?ve never heard the main theme done right until you?ve heard it done with bagpipes. :)

    A great deal of post-Tolkien fantasy is disturbingly similar.

    Take:
    1 Dark Lord bent on world domination
    1 Innocent young man
    1 Wise old mentor
    1 Mysterious object of power that must be captured/destroyed/both
    1 Princess in need of a Hero (optional)
    A pinch of ancient prophesy
    Mix together in large bowl, bake for three books at 350 pages a book, and serve. Works every time!

    [face_plain]


    Thank God for "New Wave" fantasy. :)
     
  14. princess-sari

    princess-sari Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Goodie, I'm not the only one with this problem!
    I've mostly lost interest in writing a pre-TPM handmaiden fic because there are some really good ones out on the boards already.
    Around the time I was thinking about starting a posted-as-written pre-TPM Shmi fic, several other people mentioned that they were thinking of writing the same thing AND I noticed that you had added the idea to the Plot Bunnies list at the Archive, JG. :p
    There have been other ideas that I've abandoned because other people have already done them and usually done them better than I could. It's frustrating, but it's just the way things are, I guess.
    At least we're not suffering alone. ;)
     
  15. Alderaan_

    Alderaan_ Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2001
    Jane Jinn: That's funny; my old science teacher had the same theory. And he said he was the one who thought it up. But he definately didn't have a great mind ;)
     
  16. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 1999
    Well, the bunnies are meant to be adopted. :)

    Now, it can be fun to have several people consciously writing on the same theme -- say, fifteen people all write their versions of how Shmi became a slave, and post them on the same thread; it's fun to read comparatively. It's just shocking when it happens totally accidentally.

    Yes, themes are definitely repeated -- Campbell did ultimately boil pretty much all hero stories down to a single sequence of events (granted, they're vague events).

    As I expressed it to the writer of the other story, it's along the line of going to a formal and discovering you're wearing the same dress as someone else. There's no real reason to be mortified, but...

     
  17. jade_angel

    jade_angel Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 4, 2001
    Somewhere out there is another who thinks and possibly acts just like you though different in many ways.

    I've already met that person :p Though in a totally different fandom, but still involved in fanfiction. She and I were so a like and wrote fics that were so alike that I was almost certain that she'd somehow hacked into my hard drive. Though after getting to know her after a while, we became good friends. :D
     
  18. Jane Jinn

    Jane Jinn Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Jan 12, 2000
    "Somewhere out there is another who thinks and possibly acts just like you though different in many ways."

    Now THAT is a scary thought!

     
  19. HL&S

    HL&S Magistrate Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 30, 2001
    I have a question. Does anyone ever write any Star Wars prequel era stuff with AOTC spoilers? Well maybe not so much as spoilers but with AOTC characters and organizations?

    If so, can someone show me where I can read one? If not then I think i'll have to write one fo my own satisfaction.
     
  20. BelleBayard

    BelleBayard TFN Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 4 VIP

    Registered:
    Mar 16, 2000
    Don't feel bad. I don't know how many times I've seen stories (both pro and fanfic) that I go "Hey! I've been thinkin about or doing that one!" And yes, a lot of fantasy takes from Tolkien. Think about Jung and archetypes and voila! As for that person who complained about a writer being an idea thief... Well, I'm sorry to say, but even in pro fic you'll find titles and stories very similar out of different publishing houses. Is it theft? Very questionable, because though the underlying theme may be the same, style and actual story details vary greatly. Plagiarism means taking directly from someone, word for word and not giving credit. I don't know that ideas are so easily copyrighted, frustrating as that might be, in some ways, thank heavens. Can you imagine never being able to do a different take on anything? Fanfic would disappear completely if they truly enforced that. Yikes! So what to do? Well, before getting completely aggravated that someone else has come up with your plot bunny, take a look at it and see how they did it. More than likely not anything like you would. Go ahead and write your story, but if it makes a person more comfortable a disclaimer to the effect of saying "This is an original work. Even if someone else may have thought of roughly the same plot, I didn't take it from them, I thought it up myself."
     
  21. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Gandolf, is it just me or does that suspiciously sound like something we know from a GFFA? My sister was trying to understand what made Tolkien so great and I just told her, "Without Tolkien, George Lucas and JK Rowling would have had very little to work with." I think Tolkien set the standard and focused certain themes and definitely inspired those two authors. Me and my dad, additionally, were having a debate, since Tolkien started writing LOTR in 1933 and finished in 1952, whether he's prophetic or writing in lieu of Nazism. Either way, his books are very eerie in either of those contexts. Especially the Ring concept, Saruman, you know the drill.

    JG. You know I love Campbell. He's got the heroic sciences down to a science.
     
  22. Gandalf the Grey

    Gandalf the Grey Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    May 14, 2000
    Yep, it?s also the plot for Star Wars (both as the series as a whole but also A New Hope in particular).

    Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Guy Gavriel Kay, Robert Jordan, and others (some still popular, some unavailable now except in the darkest regions of used book stores) have all used the same basic idea, some innovating more than others. Some have obviously read Campbell and have modeled their many of their ideas directly from his (Lucas has pretty much done this) while others seem to be more directly influenced by their environment. The Campbell influence is very obvious in Robert Jordan?s The Eye of the World, but as the series progresses he is moving away from the template.

    Tolkien claims that World War II did not greatly influence Lord of the Rings, and while I agree with that statement on some levels, I disagree on others. Something that major cannot help but influence the novel. He would have had to lock himself up for ten years in order to write without being influenced by the war in some way, shape or form. However, I also believe that his own war experiences in World War I were of greater influence than the war being fought in Europe.


    The [link=http://www.sfsite.com/home.htm]SF site[/link] has a fairly accurate breakdown of fantasy novels. From their site?

    EPIC FANTASY:
    Sweeping in scope, epic fantasy usually concerns a battle for rulership of a country, empire or entire world. Drawing heavily upon archetypal myths and the quintessential struggle between a few good people against overwhelming forces of evil, epic fantasy is best represented by author J. R. R. Tolkien's classic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Eos authors of epic fantasy include New York Times bestselling Raymond E. Feist (The Serpentwar Saga) and Adam Lee (The Dominions Of Irth). Some other popular epic fantasy authors are Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks.

    COURT INTRIGUE:
    A subcategory of epic fantasy that's currently popular and is the fantasy equivalent of Dumas's The Three Musketeers. Good examples of this are Robin Hobbs's Assassin trilogy, George R. R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire trilogy, Martha Wells's The Element Of Fire, and Avon author Dave Duncan's upcoming The King's Blades trilogy.

    QUEST FANTASY:
    A major subcategory of epic fantasy in which the hero endures many hardships while retrieving an object of power that will defeat the enemy. The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is a classic quest fantasy. Eos's The Shadow Eater: Book II Of The Dominions Of Irth is a quest fantasy by Adam Lee.

    HISTORICAL FANTASY:
    A subgenre in which historical events are given a fantasy treatment, or myths are given an historical treatment. Actual historical events are mixed with imaginary ones, bound together by magic. For example, Parke Godwin's The Last Rainbow is an historical fantasy based on the life of St. Patrick. Stephen R. Lawhead's bestselling Pendragon Cycle are Arthurian novels which make an attempt at historical accuracy combined with strong fantastical elements.

    CONTEMPORARY FANTASY:
    A subgenre of fantasy which posits that magic exists in our modern-day world, and often wrestles with contemporary issues. Examples of contemporary fantasy include Eric S. Nylund's Dry Water, and Tim Powers's novels Last Call and Expiration Date.

    URBAN FANTASY:
    A subcategory of contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy is set in a contemporary city. Often co-existing with the familiar city life is a hidden, magical aspect of the city frequently including magical creatures. Charles de Lint is one of the primary authors of urban fantasy. To some extent, Mark Helprin's A Winter's Tale is an urban fantasy as well as Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.

    SCIENCE FANTASY:
    A hybrid and subset of speculative fiction describing worlds in which either both magic and science work, science is so sophisticated it simulates magic, or characters possess psychic powers so strong they resemble magic. Eric S. Nylund's A Game Of Universe is a science fantasy of the first type (an assassin who can cast spells travels through space in search of the Ho
     
  23. princess-sari

    princess-sari Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 20, 2000
    Well, JG, you might notice that while I said I'd mostly given up on a pre-TPM handmaiden fic, I never said that about the Shmi fic. I'm working on it v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and I'd still like to post it if I ever finish it. :p


    If a plot bunny bites hard enough, I have a hard time letting go of it no matter how many times it's been done before. :)
     
  24. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Court Intrigue: Don't forget The Prisoner of Zenda, by Anthony Hope, my personal favorite! One modern day literary critic described it as "the first political thriller." I don't think he was thinking of Dumas. (Good summation, Gandalf, I've never really bothered to think of SF/F categorically!)

    Princess Sari, there is ALWAYS room for more pre-TPM handmaiden flicks! :) Just because I can't come up with another plot doesn't mean there aren't any possibilities out there...

     
  25. Gandalf the Grey

    Gandalf the Grey Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    May 14, 2000
    It isn't my summation; I found it on the SF site. Which I highly recommend.
     
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