Recently a friend and I deicded to work on a one page comic (hopefully the first of many) just for fun. After I wrote up the outline I realized that all my characters and a lot of their personalities (but not neccesarily the story itself) came from another comic I read a few months ago.
I'm interested to know if this has happened to other authors (maybe in the beginning or after completing a story). What do you normally do when you realize? Is this a deal breaker for you and your work? Or do you go ahead anyway?
Hard to say without mroe info. How close are the stories. If I write a zombie story from the perspectives of some cops, am I writing Walking Dead? Maybe, maybe not.
Be inspired, make it your own, make it better.
When i got the prompt for war and didn't have my idea I kept thinkiing of a great novel that i had read that probably no one else had. I was for one moment tempted to copy the setting, but my good side won out. I thought of my own story end the end. Do that.
Yea, I never consciously try to copy something else that I've read, but I hate realizing that I've subconsciously pulled over ideas from somewhere else. Ignorance of my inspiration is bliss.
I guess a related issue is writing the same protagonist again and again. Does anyone else find they have a "default"?
I had this issue with names before. All of a sudden you realize your main characters are Sam and Diane, and maybe no one will notice...but...
There's not much you can do about it other than never reading or watching or listening to anything ever again. Your subconscious mind is going to pick up stimulating information and store it, and in turn your creative brain will use it when your creativity is flowing.
Embrace this, because as much as I've consciously tried to copy someone's style, you can only get a caricature of the style of what you're trying to imitate. You'll hit close to the highs and lows, but you'll never get the nuances and subtle effects down, the real things our minds pick up on that allows us to pick someone's style out of crowd. I've written a lot of short pieces as though James Ellroy wrote them, and even though I'm usually happy with the results, the story never reads like something he would have written, simply because I'm not him. Sure, if you give ten thousand chimps a typewriter, in ten thousand years one of them would actually write something, but it wouldn't be Ellroy, or Faulkner, or anyone for that matter. It would simply be sentences written by a chimp that is the product of his environment.
Whenever things get a bit too...familiar, I always take a step back, take a few days, walk to work and mull it all over, binge on a different TV show, finish the novel I'm reading, and continue writing with more perspective. The personal kind, not the inspired kind.
Most books, short stories, comics, movies, and television shows (even Perfect Classics) have some unexplored tangent that interests me. I often pursue these for my own amusement & gratification. By pursuing some unexplored tangent of some beloved work of fiction, I feel that I am truly writing an homage to the original work...
Is that too abstract? (it is a bit abstract...)
Better than ^ (a bit less abstract): take a secondary character you love from some work of fiction, rename and rework the character a little, and make this character the main character and let that "new" character really pursue that character's goals
(f*ck - still abstract but a little less so....)
@Boone I'm definitely going to give that idea a try.