Monday, October 24, 2011

Coincidental Resemblance

Story time.

Last weekend, I went on a mini-vacation with my husband, Jaron. For the most part, we lounged at the hotel and ate all sorts of body-destroying deliciousness. We did, however, spend one morning walking around a mall, shopping (but not buying). During this time, Jaron insisted on going into Game Stop. Despite my protests* I was whisked into the store.

After getting high scores on Wii Play Motion, watching several people play inFAMOUS 2, and glancing over hundreds of titles, Jaron and I eyed the used PSP games (we bought a PSP this year). That's when I saw this box art.


The art style and colors are what caught my eye--so I picked it up, and began to read.

"Drunk, despondent, and down on his luck, a spellsword mercenary named Crais Sewell reluctantly accepts a job from a young, cheerful troubadour named Sophie Rothorn. Their mission: to recover seven jewels scattered throughout the world of Iyar- for what reason, Sophie refuses to say. On their travels, Sophie and Crais meet Melrose, an eccentric mage with a penchant for dissection, Tinon, a tomboy who wields her magic a little too liberally, and Patty, a young woman with a good heart and a love for magical items disproportionate to her funds. As it becomes clear that Sophie's quest is not unrelated to a past Crais would prefer to forget, he faces a choice: Will he confront his past failures, and ultimately overcome them, or succumb to despair and misery? It is entirely possible that the fate of the world, or at least Crais's corner of it, may depend on his answer."

Now, let me put this into perspective here. I just finished writing a book about a mercenary acting as a bodyguard for a mysterious rich girl. I'll revise the above description to show you what exactly why I was so startled.

"Despondent and down on his luck, a mercenary named Octras reluctantly accepts a job from a young, mysterious girl named Tsira. The mission: to protect her as she heads south--for what reason, she refuses to say. On their travels, Tsira and Octras meet Shenra, a healer with a penchant for honesty, and Jake, a boy who wields his tongue a little too liberally, though he has a good heart and a love for swordplay disproportionate to his skills. As it becomes clear that Tsira's quest is not unrelated to a past Octras would prefer to forget, he faces a choice: Will he confront his past failures, and ultimately overcome them, or succumb to despair and misery? It is entirely possible that the fate of the world, or at least Octras's corner of it, may depend on his answer."

Anyway, I spent some time looking up this game, Mimana IYAR Chronicle, and as it turns out, the game isn't like my book beyond this snippet. And it's supposedly a failure. Its ratings are really low, the gameplay is considered tedious, and the story apparently falls flat. But it got my attention, so...

Similar stories could be applied to many of the ideas I (and my younger siblings) have come up with. The character Tibblz from my TimiThy story (you know, from the first grade) was almost a perfect match with J.K. Rowling's Tonks. My little brother thinks up Rowan of Fire, and next thing we know, we see Rowan of Rin at the library.**

We joke that someone with brain cameras is stealing our ideas, but honestly, is there anything original anymore? Has this ever happened to you?

-Tsira

*Going into a game store is exhausting in much the same way as going into a book store. It's partly because I want them all, and I know I can't afford any of them. I mean, we can afford like $50 a month for that stuff. That's only ONE game. And right now, we're waiting for Skyward Sword.

**Rowan of Rin has very little to do with my brother's idea, and was published before then, but I was just talking about the shock of finding a coincidental resemblance here. At the time we discovered the book, we freaked out. I was only ten.

6 comments:

  1. That's so crazy! When I read the first snippet from the game, I immediately thought of your story. I think it's hard to come up with something completely original. Since there's so much stuff out there, any idea is always going to remind others of some other idea they've already seen. I guess the main thing is to come up with something original enough that it's new and different, even if it goes off of an idea that's already out there.

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  2. This happens more often than you'd think. I've since coined the term "Collective Unconscious" based on it. I even did a blog post about it. So long as your take on the concept is different and fresh, similarities don't matter.

    I love the concept of your story, btw. :)

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  3. Every now an then someone will tell me, "Hey, that sounds like this book/movie. Have you seen it?"

    Usually the answer is a no, and then I swear to myself I won't ever read/watch said title so I can accurately say I didn't rip my story from it!

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  4. The song that Carrie Underwood sang, Jesus Take the Wheel sounded exactly like mini story I wrote years ago. I finally found it and sure enough....

    This makes me think, are we as unique as we think we are? :)

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  5. Yeah, it's happened a bit with me.

    I wrote a story about a girl who falls in love with a vampire. Then I discovered Twilight and then came all the others. The one that was the most like mine was Vampire Academy.

    There are no original ideas though and all we can do as writers is to come up with a twist that makes our work stand out more than other works.

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  6. This was the first time I've run into something that sounded SO MUCH like what I've been working on, but I recognize that there are billions of minds out there and so we're bound to come across similarities no matter what we're working on.

    @David: I'll have to check it out. And thank you.

    @CNHolmberg: I know, right? There's this little paranoia I have of someone claiming I stole their work... even honest ignorance can cause problems with that, though.

    Wow, sounds like we all have brain cameras.

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