June 07, 2004

In the Ether

On Forward Motion, a new member complained that her favorite author was always beating her to the punch -- publishing characters and plots that seem much like her own works in the progress.

This is my answer to her complaint:

Actually sf writer has noticed this and call it "In the Ether." For some strange reason, vast number of stranger will come up with the same idea at the same time. One sf editor tells a tale of getting three short stories about talking x-mas trees in one week. My first novel I worked on was cool and novel -- the government experiments on college students and their children develop physic powers. In a bloody move, the government kills the parents and gather all the kids into a camp which the kids burn down in their escape move. Totally different right? (okay, now it isn't.) FOUR YEARS later, Stephen King came out with Fire Starter.

The thing is that this was all before the internet and I lived 1000 miles from him so there was no way that he could have stole the idea off of me.

Unless you've been posting your stuff on the Internet (HUGELY BAD IDEA) or live next door to your author, you're merely tapping into whatever causing everyone to think of the same idea at the same time. It could be blockbuster movies had a throw away line. A hit tv show didn't develop one cool idea. Subliminal images in commercials. Who knows. But its fairly well known by anyone that writes seriously that unless your ideas are really really OUT there, someone else probably will think of it too. This is when speed and quality of writing manners. The person who gets done first, and done best will be considered the original and everyone else will be copying.

Posted by wen at June 7, 2004 10:57 AM