Ever been beaten to an idea?

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CMBright

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Every survival story (to use a random group) is the same on the general level. Where the Red Fern Grows is very different from work by Jack London.

Or every parallel world anime has a character who started out on Earth then found him/herself in an entirely different world, often with magic. Different characters, different parallel worlds, different solutions and natural laws (often including some form of magic).

At least that is my take on more than one writer having the "same" idea. Plenty of differences in the details, often the entire story is different within the similar ideas.
 

t0dd

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I had an idea many years ago of the Merlin of Arthurian legend being a time traveler whose knowledge of how King Arthur's reign would turn out (one of Merlin's main magical abilities in the original medieval accounts) came from his knowing the story. A few years ago, I read Adam Rex's "Cold Cereal" trilogy, which used such a take on Merlin - particularly emphasizing his "prophetic knowledge" being his chief magical feat, and this being due to his being a time traveler. (Though one major difference; my idea had Merlin be the main character, while Rex's Merlin was a supporting character, a mentor-figure to the leads.)
 

Nether

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I had an idea many years ago of the Merlin of Arthurian legend being a time traveler whose knowledge of how King Arthur's reign would turn out (one of Merlin's main magical abilities in the original medieval accounts) came from his knowing the story. A few years ago, I read Adam Rex's "Cold Cereal" trilogy, which used such a take on Merlin - particularly emphasizing his "prophetic knowledge" being his chief magical feat, and this being due to his being a time traveler. (Though one major difference; my idea had Merlin be the main character, while Rex's Merlin was a supporting character, a mentor-figure to the leads.)

To be fair, I'm sure a lot of people have had variations on that idea. I know I've had several ideas like that. I would go into the specifics on one of them, but I still plan on writing it and that would feel like a jinx.
 

Putputt

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Recently I had an adorable MG Fantasy idea that I got really excited about. I described it to a friend, who told me to check out The School for Good and Evil and...*sigh*, lol. I think some ideas are broader than others, so it would be okay to do a story with the same starting idea. For example, I was worried that my YA, which has a stalker, would be too similar to Caroline Kepnes's YOU, but I think that the concept of the MC being a stalker is broad enough such that the book could be held as a separate entity to other stalker books. But I do think that some premises are so recognizable that it would be a challenge to find a gap in the market for it. Unfortunately, a school for fairytale characters is probably going to make people go, "Hey, isn't that The School for Good and Evil?"

(This is not to say that anyone should give up immediately upon finding out that a book or show with a similar premise already exists, it just depends on how comfortable you are with it.)
 
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Shante_

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I'm writing a YA thriller, and I recently read an adult thriller that was quite similar to my premise ... and then also had the same whodunnit. 🙃 I thought about using it as a comp title until I got to that twist because I'm worried they're *too* similar and using the adult thriller as a comp would give away the ending!

After some initial panicking, I got over it, kept writing, and I'm in the final act now! Despite having similar concepts, they're still very different in execution and in different age categories, so I'm not too worried about it. 😊
 

Shante_

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Recently I had an adorable MG Fantasy idea that I got really excited about. I described it to a friend, who told me to check out The School for Good and Evil and...*sigh*, lol. I think some ideas are broader than others, so it would be okay to do a story with the same starting idea. For example, I was worried that my YA, which has a stalker, would be too similar to Caroline Kepnes's YOU, but I think that the concept of the MC being a stalker is broad enough such that the book could be held as a separate entity to other stalker books. But I do think that some premises are so recognizable that it would be a challenge to find a gap in the market for it. Unfortunately, a school for fairytale characters is probably going to make people go, "Hey, isn't that The School for Good and Evil?"

(This is not to say that anyone should give up immediately upon finding out that a book or show with a similar premise already exists, it just depends on how comfortable you are with it.)
For the record, I read and loved both You and The Obsession and think your story is super unique! Especially since you also included the victim's POV, and it's YA, not adult. 😊 I think it might be the only YA about stalking so far too?? So definitely not too similar in my very humble reader opinion. 🤣
 
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Putputt

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For the record, I read and loved both You and The Obsession and think your story is super unique! Especially since you also included the victim's POV, and it's YA, not adult. 😊 I think it might be the only YA about stalking so far too?? So definitely not too similar in my very humble reader opinion. 🤣
AH!! Thank you so much!! This made my day. Thank you!
 
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JJNotAbrams

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I'm writing a post-apocalyptic WIP the human race has been mutated and civilization was just starting to rebuild itself. Then I realized that the way these mutations work had essentially been done before in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic that started in 2011.
 

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When I was in middle school I had a great idea for a time travel machine that was a blue box. Then I learned of Doctor Who. I had no idea and was astonished by this. I would love to bring this time travel idea back to life, but I'm not so attached to the blue box idea anymore, so I'd just pick a different idea.

Coincidences happen all the time. When I was in fifth grade I had to color-in a picture of a teacher. My twin sister's teacher and mine met with us because apparently we had used nearly the exact same colors in the same spots. They thought we had "cheated". But later they thought it was just creepy.
 

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