How do I stop myself from trying to copy ideas from other places?

How do I stop myself from trying to copy ideas from other places?


The trick is to copy many things from many different works until your work is such a Frankenstein's monster that its actually completely original. Huzzah!


That how i wrote my first book


I believe you might be overthinking things. I have been very guilty of that myself. The question is simply who are you worldbuilding for and what do you want to accomplish with it. Of course, if you are doing it just for fun for yourself, then go back to the drawing board as many times as you need to, take all the time in the world and build something that is truly yours. However, if you are doing it for other people then it is unlikely that they have the exact same background as you do and will not necessarily see where you collected ideas from. I have taken much inspiration in my writing from other authors, adapted ideas and concepts and used them and nobody ever recognized it (or at least said anything about it). And if people recognize it, then you actually have a fringe benefit - they are familiar with it. Don't steal though, give credit where credit is due and don't just c/p. Still adapt it to make it your own. Just my thoughts and experiences on / with the matter.


>Don't steal though, give credit where credit is due How do I do that though?


I have done it in several ways. Normally I mention people in a thank you paragraph in the beginning or end of the story. Another, less direct way that I feel works is if I take something and adapt it, I will make a character in my story quote a very iconic line of a main character of the story I "borrowed" from. (ie: my character suddenly screams "Maximum Effort" while he is in an area that was inspired by Deadpool.) There was also a situation where I wrote a statue of the author into the area that I had borrowed - as in like main character walks up to it, describes the statue, finds the plaque on it and then goes: "Hm, author name, no clue who that is but it seems like he has done something important for this world."


What about if the thing i kinda copied was the core belief and motivation of a certain religious sect tho. For example, my world has a conflict between the empire and the church that worships the same religion and different sect. This conflict is based of the conflict between the japanese's shogunate and the Ikko Ikki monk up north. Also, the belief of the church is based of Ikko Ikki's pureland buddism, which is different from the traditional mahayana buddhism in that it believes that the world is inherently sinful and the only way to be reincarnate into the 'pureland' a place where there are only goodness is to follow the teachings of the sect. This has caused the monk to be more materialistic and accepting of the use of violence than other buddhists, hence their warrior monks that went to war with samurais. When I found this, I thought it was perfect for my story because it allows me to be able to conceptualize 'militant zealots' better and justify their motives and why they might oppose the empire.


Hm, this would be something that I would not give further credit because that's history and not a work of someone. You could still mention this somewhere in a fore/afterword but I don't think it's necessary. If you want to, you could use terms like pureland or even make a guy named Ikko Ikki the founder of the sect or something but I really don't think it is necessary. Plus I think its is a pretty obscure piece that you copied. I don't think many westerners will even understand that this is based on history.


If you're copying from actual history, that's no different than almost all fantasy. You're being *more* original for borrowing from something other than "vague pastiche of medieval Europe." If you want, you can mention the period inspiration in the introduction/afterword/About page/whatever. Maybe mention a good book for anyone who wants to know more. But you don't really have any *obligations* in this case, I don' think.


This maybe out of the topic for the post because I’m getting into specifics here. But the thing I’m basing off is a real life religion, not normal history. It's not like G R R Martin when he decides to write game of throne as an allegory for the war of roses, the religion I’m writing has its core belief based on the pureland and the main church is approximately the same location as the real life pureland temple (my map is kinda like Japan, played too much shogun 2). I think it would be a bit of a disrespect to create a “bad guy” faction based on real life religion. What do you think?


I don't know anything about Pureland Buddhism, assuming that's what you're talking about (I had to look it up). But there are *plenty* of sci-fi and fantasy stories where the bad-guy faction is transparently based on the Catholic Church. Hell, there's plenty of historical fiction (and historical *fact*) where actual Catholics are the bad guys. Be aware that people who recognize the connection may assume that you are criticizing that religion to some degree (greater or lesser depending on how close the correspondence is and how stereotyped/unsympathetic the villains are). If that's not your intent, then maybe soft-pedal it a bit--make it structurally/aesthetically similar, but different in the details, and make sure the villains are sympathetic. If you *do* think the religion deserves some criticism, then have at it. Just be careful not to make them two-dimensional caricatures of everything you hate about Pureland. Less to avoid giving offense, and more because that's just bad writing.


I go through periods like these when I'm drafting up worlds and suddenly grow fearful I might be making dollar store versions of things I've seen somewhere already, due to feeling like I'm not creative in the least compared to so many people. The same is when I get ideas for my drawings, as I constantly worry about certain aspects of my composition being lifted from someone whose art I've seen. But I remind myself that there's very rarely a 100% original idea-- our minds are capable of original thought but in the collective unconscious, ideas can spread and shape those thoughts without our willing it. In art circles, what we call "lack of creativity" is really the lack of a mental library of sorts to draw from (a visual library) that helps us mold our ideas that are common with others into something distinct to ourselves. So it's actually good to be actively looking to consume media to help fill in these gaps for your work, because you're filling in gaps in knowledge that otherwise could hamper your writing. Movies, comics, tv shows, galleries, articles, you name it! Eventually you'll amass enough of that thing to where you brain can make its own mishmash of it all that stands out. In any given genre, plenty of authors have written works premised off the same base concept, but were able to write a tale that was doubtlessly theirs; unique enough that readers can say Author X did it better than Author Y, but each author likely has different weaknesses/strengths as writers. Originality boils down to how you handle these ideas using your unique experiences interacting with them in other works if that makes sense. (And if you ask me, the only time the mind truly creates something from nothing is when we're asleep and dreaming-- and not even that! Most of it probably was constructed from something you've seen in reality anyway.) Sorry for the rambling, I just saw this pkst and was like "wow me" lol.


There are no new ideas, only new ways to use old ones


Don’t bother, practically every work of fiction on the planet builds on what came before it. There is nothing new under the sun etc. What matters is the quality of execution. There are lots of works with incredible premises and settings, but have bad plots, writing, characters, gameplay, etc.


It's fine for you to copy certain ideas. I've got Turbo Mecha Sonic and Fullmetal Alchemist in mine. But if you want to avoid doing that,you gotta think about an opposite. Think about a character, take his opposite, then figure out an in between. Same for environment and powers. You might come up with something rather unique. For instance Super Strength. I'm gonna say its opposite is super durability cause you punch hard with super strength. And now you have a copound power in the in between where you can punch really hard but your body is frail and weak.


To be fair, everyone one of our worlds could be existing in the same multiverse/multiverses, so technically your world could just be an alternate dimension of another world with significant differences. Seriously though, you're probably copying cause your brain is running out of ideas or is too tired to imagine properly. Take a break. Read some good fictional books or watch some movies and then think how could you make that better or different.


✨Everyone copies!✨ People just don’t talk about it because they don’t want to be considered a thief or a fraud. Chunks of concepts are not copyrightable. Someone could write a story about a bespectacled boy wizard with a pet owl at a magical school and still be completely different than Harry Potter. Likewise, someone could write a whole series about a war between four elemental nations—water, wind, fire, earth—but without including chosen ones, martial arts, or magical “bending” powers. It’s a creator’s job to present their views on things that already exist. As long as it’s YOUR spin on a concept, it’s not the same thing as stealing.


Your work is only as original as the sources you steal from are obscure (to steal from Matt Colville)




>ETA: I sorta do this in my head. I have a 'problem' in my world, and I daydream solutions to it (with outside influences from literature/movies/songs/historical accounts/discussions, etc). I try to fully imagine the characters in my world experiencing the solution I've come up with, and that often reveals ways I need to enhance, tweak, or possibly discard my solution. I do this as well. However, sometimes it won't be months or literally an entire year for me to understand my problem and find a perfect solution to it that fits narratively


You don't. You just gotta copy from loads of different places instead of just one. Everything is a remix. Originality matters, but these days originality is really just finding new ways to combine old ideas


Impossible, accept that nothing is original and try to draw inspiration for many different sources.