What? It’s been done?

Similar, yet different

My work schedule has been all over the map lately, so not only has my writing time been limited, but also my script-reading time as well.  Nevertheless, I try to read when I can.

(*If you can, I highly recommend getting an iPad. It’s perfect for reading scripts. Apparently this is also now the industry standard.)

A few weeks ago, Martin Helgeland’s SLAYER was among the selection of that week’s Scriptshadow offering.  “This is the dragon slayer in modern day script that just sold for a boatload of money.” How could I resist?

My immediate reaction: I can see why it sold. It’s a solid, action-packed story loaded with lots of cinematic images that muscles its way forward and jams the action down your throat with a vengeance.

I wasn’t crazy about the writing. It seemed a little too showoff-y. “The sword KEENS.” Huh?

But what really got my attention was how similar the story was to one I came up with about 2 years ago. Obviously, some of the details are different, but they share some basic story points.

This isn’t a big deal because the story itself isn’t completely original. You’ve probably seen or read ones just like it numerous times. Helgeland has his version; I’ll have mine,which isn’t even written yet. It’s still in the outline stage, and I can use this as a guide for how to make mine more different.

This happens all the time, and has been going on for quite a while, as evidenced here. Most likely, everything you or anybody else has ever written is in there somewhere.

So stop worrying about someone stealing your ‘original’ idea and focus instead on how your work can stand out from all the other ones just like it.

It may not be as hard as you think.