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Writing The originality of ideas [E]


Leofski
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I recently finished reading [I]Ender's Game[/I] and it's sequels. As I read the books the idea of a person losing touch with the universe due to relativistic travel seemed hugely original. However, I this week read Joe Haldeman's [I]The Forever War[/I], which did the same thing earlier, as well as reasonable parallels to [/I]Rip Van Winkle[/I].

I was wondering whether anyone else had experienced the same thing, an concept that seemed utterly new, that you later found had been done better in the past. Obviously, all idea for plots and gimmicks were new once, but just as there are supposedly only five basic plots, there may only be a limited number of tools to tell these stories with.
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I don't know all the rules about this forum, so I don't know if this belongs here or not. It probably does. Oh well, I'm just gonna answer your question quickly.

Think about how long mankind has had the written word. Thousands upon thousands of years, right? THEN think about how long mankind has had no writing, just oral tradition. That's even MORE thousands of years of stories. NOW, think of how long the modern action of publishing has been on earth, and couple that with the sheer numbers of writers, famous or otherwise. What I'm trying to say is, there simply does not exist enough ideas in the world for everyone to think up something original. Not anymore, at least. If you're just thinking one day and come up with this great little story in your head about, I don't know, a lonely Jewish man who becomes a cop, chances are some kid in friggin' Novascotia has the same idea, maybe even at the same time.
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