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October 20th, 2002, 07:42 PM
As a fairly new writer, I am always concerned that my "original" idea has actually been written about a dozen times in several magazines / ezines / writer's forums. Editors have also complained vociferously about this issue.

How would I go about testing the originality of an idea?
1) I want the Orion Nebula's stellar nursery to be a main backdrop of a story. Has a story already been written with this backdrop?

2) I want to write a humorous nanotech story where all of our bones become rubbery and pliant. Has something along this line already been done?

Are there any websites that classify stories in a way that would help me here?

I realize that many factors go into the orginality of a story, but right now I simply want to avoid reinventing the plot wheel.
Any thoughts?


October 20th, 2002, 08:18 PM
I automatically asume with any new Idea that it has been done before. The chances of anything being done like I come up with it and written the same way are astronomical really. I wouldn't worry about rehashing an old concept though, alot of writers have used old ideas with much sucess and used originality in writing it. Same bowl of fruit, different angle, new method of conveying the reality of it. Or something like that.

October 27th, 2002, 10:16 AM
I agree. Just write your story and because YOU wrote it and because there is only YOU who has the mind the way you do, it's going to be orginal. Don't worry about whether someone has written it before, because more than likely, someone has. Focus on more of HOW you tell the story.

Example: how many versions of vampire, zombie, witches and even mutant (Mutant X or X-men or Metahuman) stories do you think is out there? It's Endless.

It's HOW you tell the story that counts.

Pirate Jenn
October 28th, 2002, 01:48 AM
I agree with the others. So long as you know your idea well and give it a good voice, repetition will bother no one.

On another note... I posted this link a long while ago. It's a pretty big list of various SF cliches--things that are so overdone that they should be avoided/and other things as well.


Aik Haw
October 28th, 2002, 06:13 PM
Umm, I know that idea (2) has already been written before in one short story.

However, like everyone else here, I agree that you should not be too fixated on the idea that "someone may have come up with this idea before." Who really cares? The important things are:-

(1) Is this idea genuinely your own? If so, good, because NO ONE ELSE would have come up with this idea before. The different smell you portray, the setting, even the location of conflict, the overall theme, the emotion portrayed, the wordings, all these are UNIQUELY yours, never to be replicated.

(2) Do you feel and embrace your own idea deeply? If so, again it is your own, and uniquely yours, as no one can even dance close to the way you will portray your idea.

October 30th, 2002, 04:35 PM
I think that there is notheing new under the sun, as your posting so eloquently says. But what makes new stories exciting is the new and unique way we piece together those ideas. That is what catches the eye of the reader. :)

October 30th, 2002, 05:31 PM
I'm not adding anything extra, but boringly agreeing with all of the above!!

As long as you tell it (preferably well) then it is unique.

on the bandwagon