Saturday, November 12, 2011

A thought of my own

One night this summer I had a strange dream. It involved a young boy who had a strange and life altering adventure. When I woke up I quickly noted the gist of the dream and later that day I wrote about half of a short story. Then life intervened. This week I picked it up again and ran it past my in-house experts.

"I like it Mommy," my ten year old son commented. "Actually," he said, furrowing his brow in thought, "I saw a movie just like that."

I searched online and he was right. The details were different but the underlying premise was the same. I had never seen the movie and I was crushed. A hypothesis which I have denied for 20 years pushed itself into my mind.

Are all the truly original ideas taken?

When I read of the incident with Q. R. Markham whose newly published spy novel contains passages that appear to have been intentionally plagiarized from novels by Ian Fleming and other well known writers, I had to look at this question again.

In this information age where our senses are constantly assaulted by other people's ideas, is it even possible to have a completely independent idea?

Hmmm, sounds like the seeds of a new movie. Hope it has not been done already?


G said...

Very possible to have a completely independent idea.

To whit: The book I'm currently shopping around features a woman who goes into the adult movie industry to pay off her loan shark.

Has it been done elsewhere? Probably. But not with the plot twist that I've thrown into it.

Have I read/seen it elsewhere? No.

I can back up that second statement by saying that as a rule, I do not watch much in the way of television or movies, nor do I read books with the kind of saturation that I did say 20 years ago.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm not sure a completely unique idea was ever possible after the first one. we all are a product of our experiences, which are similar to many other folks.

Liane Spicer said...

Reminds me of that old saying that there are only seven plots. I guess the originality comes in when we bring our unique perspectives and treatments to bear on the same old same old.

KeVin K. said...

Utensils needed: mixing bowl, marble rolling surface, marble rolling pin, serving fork.
Start with: 1 cups all-purpose flour; 1 cup semolina flour; 3 large eggs; 1 tablespoon olive oil; pinch of salt.
Beat together olive oil and eggs. Thoroughly sift flours and salt together. Using large fork, blend flour into eggs/oil, adding gradually until it becomes too thick to stir; knead in rest by hand -- at least 10 minutes. Divide into fist-sized balls and wrap tightly in plastic and let sit for one hour. Roll balls out into sheets of desired thickness.

That's pasta. Make noodles. Make ravioli. Make linguine or angel hair. It's all pasta. What you do with the pasta is up to you.
I bake lasagna using broad strips of fresh, uncooked pasta. To date no one has ever told me to stop because another cook has already used pasta.

Don't think writing is all that different. It doesn't matter how often a premise or idea has been used; what matters is what you bring to the story.