As a creative writer you sit there coming up with ideas for storylines, characters and interesting plot hooks. It involves long hours, and sometime waking up in the middle of the night and frantically scribbling the idea down on your phone, or notepad. Then you go to sleep, thinking you’ve come up with he most original story idea ever! Well… I have news for you… Chances are someone has had the same idea as you, this is why ideas are like buses… They all come at once.
The Many Adventures Of A Teddy Bear
When I was writing the Teddy Bear Tales I was convinced no one else was writing a story about a Teddy Bear who defends children from the Monsters under the bed. That I had the most original idea ever. Then as I was getting the book printed I found this amazing illustration by Alx (DeviantArt:Begemott)
And learned about the Stuff Of Legends by Th3rdworld Studios – another story about Toys who venture into the lands of the Bogeyman to rescue their child. Yeah… And Stuff Of Legends had the legs on me by about a year. You can read the creative journey of the Teddy Bear Tales here.
I’ve talked to writers who at this point just walk away from their idea, citing it wasn’t an original idea, or have been mocked by Trolls who rub the other work in their faces. I say this… Don’t… And don’t fool yourself… There is no such thing as an original idea, just different ways of telling the same story.
For example Stuff Of Legends is a very different story than the Teddy Bear Tales, different premises – the toys turn into Avatars of themselves. While Tristan is well… Tristan throughout his story.
I’ve even talked to the Artist and one of the Stuff Of Legends writers about our shared work. The only sad thing is I cannot read their work (because it looks really good!) just incase I subconsciously absorb their story lines.
It Is Still Annoying Though
Even though I’ve told you not to expect your idea to be original it is still annoying when you write your notes and come up with a quick concept sketch that you run into another idea that is close to yours.
Yep… A few months ago I drew a RoboTed Concept, featuring a Boy, his Teddy Bear and their Bear shaped Mech – riffing off old Manga inking styles. The basic story concept is they are Giant Robot arena fighters and things take a darker twist the more successful they become (you know standard anime fair), and the Boogeymen invades their reality it his giant monsters (Kaiju). Last week, while I was in Barnes & Noble I stumble upon the Bandai Bearguy kits.
It is obvious that Bandai were way ahead of me on this, I know from experience it takes up to a year to develop a plastic kit, and this idea was developed Japan in a very separate way to mine. So there I was thinking I had a totally original idea with RoboTed, and it turns out it wasn’t as original as I thought… I should expect it, but it is still bloody annoying.
So… the moral of this Writing Without Fear is to keep going, there are no original ideas anymore, just original stories. Good luck… Keep writing!