Someone (I think it was Charles Dickens or maybe Earnest Hemingway) once said that new ideas are like bastard children. They take our time and attention away from what we should be focusing on–our current project, whatever that may be–and should be mercilessly killed if we ever hope to realize our true purpose.
Now, I’m not sure what the laws regarding illegitimate childicide were back then, but I’m pretty sure that analogy doesn’t translate to today. So let’s ignore the main point. Instead, let’s focus on the implication of that first sentence, which is this: It really doesn’t matter who said it first. It only matters which one you remember.
This brings me to the overall point of this post. (Finally, I know.) There is NO such thing as a completely, totally unsullied, ORIGINAL idea.
Just look at some of the most talked-about movies/shows/books that have come out in the past ten years or so…
Armageddon vs. Deep Impact
The Office vs. Parks & Recreation
Twilight vs. True Blood vs. The Vampire Diaries
I’m sure there’s loads of other examples I’ve overlooked, which just supports my point. It really doesn’t matter WHO had the idea first or even how GREAT that idea was. It’s all in the execution of the idea, HOW you present it or market it. Even WHEN you come up with it.
So fellow writers/moviegoers/critics, maybe it’s time to stop whining that “so n so totally ripped off this great, perfect idea” and now it’ll never be as good or never be worth finishing because there’s no such thing as a virgin concept.
Besides, wouldn’t you rather run with a kindof slutty idea anyway? I’ve heard they’re a lot more fun.