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No New Ideas Under the Sun

Monday, May 18, 2015

Model Nicole Simone as AlexSo, in working on my new story idea, I came up with what I thought was a unique thing for my heroine to be doing in order to research the villain for the new mystery/thriller novel she’s writing. This was so good—and would give me something that could create conflict between her and the hero.

And then I picked up a contemporary romance to read, published in 2006 . . . and the heroine is doing the exact same thing that I had come up with for my heroine to do!

As a writer, have you ever found yourself reading a book that uses the same or a similar idea as the one you’re currently writing? What did you do?

As a reader, how often do you find certain themes, plot lines, or ideas repeating themselves in the books you read? Do you like/dislike it when that happens?

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Monday, May 18, 2015 8:08 pm

    So what are you going to do?

    Like

  2. Monday, May 18, 2015 10:41 pm

    It’s true, there are no truly new ideas, just new writers sharing them. I don’t mind a repeated theme, idea or plot concept as long as it’s well done. With each writer having a unique voice, there’s always a chance to make it exciting and a little unique. You are definitely capable of that! You’re very talented. 🙂

    Like

  3. Sylvia M. permalink
    Tuesday, May 19, 2015 2:24 pm

    I don’t mind a repeated theme or plot every once in awhile. If one author keeps recycling plots for her own books then that bothers me. Since you are someone else and the book to which you are referring is likely secular, then there’s a strong possibility that a lot of your readers haven’t read that other book. If that other book is Christian fiction than you probably will have a few people that will notice. Is this other author extremely popular?

    Will your new book be self-published or will you try to get it traditionally published?

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    • Tuesday, May 19, 2015 4:26 pm

      I definitely have certain tropes I love (I’m a sucker for a marriage of convenience story!). And you’re right, most people who might read this probably wouldn’t have read the other one—not only is it general market, but it is almost 10 years old now. I checked it out from the library because I’d been curious about the author and this one was available.

      At this point, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the story. I’m just barely starting to enjoy what little writing/story development I’ve been doing with this, and I’m not going to push myself. The end of my previous experience writing for publication was nearly traumatic and I’m still not emotionally recovered from the amount of pressure and stress there was on me to write something I wasn’t, at the time, passionate about.

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  4. Tuesday, May 19, 2015 3:43 pm

    This happened to me a couple of times, but usually I saw ideas from my WIP in a TV show or movie. I take them as opportunities to challenge myself and create something even better. In both instances I loved the changes more than the original ideas. Everything happens for a reason and the saying is true: Obstacles are not setbacks but setups for a big comeback. I think it was Joel Osteen who that 🙂

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  5. Nepeace permalink
    Thursday, May 21, 2015 11:59 am

    A lot of ideas are similar, but what sets them apart is the way the story is executed. Don’t let that stop you, always continue with the story and try to find that thing that sets your story apart.

    There really are no new ideas… I bet that if you look hard enough you can always find that one idea which is similar. It’s just really annoying that you found out this way … 😦

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    • Thursday, May 21, 2015 12:04 pm

      Actually, I am kind of glad, now, that I found it—because it’s making me be a little more creative. Plus, while it’s something that my heroine is doing that might generate a little conflict between her and the hero (she’s an author and the research she’s doing for a character in her story-in-progress involves online dating), it’s not going to be a main plot point the way it is in the book I’m reading. In the book I’m reading, the heroine and hero meet on a date through an online dating site because she’s doing research and he’s working undercover. I’m not going that direction with it, so it should turn out to be different enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nepeace permalink
        Monday, May 25, 2015 11:09 am

        Ever since I read this discussion I’ve been wondering what I should do. I am working on a story which apparently from what I have heard has similarities to the Divergent series. I’ve never read the books, nor have I seen the movies. Ever since people told me that there are similarities in my story idea I’ve been wondering whether or not I should read/watch them.

        And now with this blog post I’m leaning more than ever before towards reading and/or watching them. Just so that I can make sure that my story line doesn’t take a similar path.

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        • Monday, May 25, 2015 12:23 pm

          My advice—for whatever it’s worth—is that, if you haven’t already, you go ahead and write out a full synopsis of your story idea. Write down all of the scenes/plot points you know you want to include, write out the backstories of your main characters along with the main points of their arcs in the story itself, and write out the history of your world. Make sure you know your story and characters and world inside out. Then read the Divergent series and make notes on what’s the same as your story, what’s different, and what you can make better in your story from what you find in the existing books.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Nepeace permalink
          Monday, May 25, 2015 1:46 pm

          Thanks, that really sounds like solid advice. I keep on working on that outline for now and see how it goes. And work on the remaining plot points and see where that leads me.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Lori permalink
    Monday, May 25, 2015 10:20 am

    Oh yes, I have! And it was so frustrating. But, what I did was try to put a bit of a twist to it to change it up a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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