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Writer's Block:
"It's Been Done"
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"It's Been Done":

 1 Twentington, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 1:22:03 AM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Three words I fear the most as a writer. I was originally going to post this in the "audience reactions you fear of" thread, but I felt it needed its own thing.

Anyway, I'm afraid that I'll think I'm onto something really good, only to be told "It's been done. X did it, Y did it, Z did it."

Even looking what I do have. Female house-mates who are of conflicting personalities? Yeah, Odd Couple pairings have totally never been done before! One's a Cloud Cuckoolander and one's The Lad-ette? Oh no, I just have re-skinned Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash! They work retail? Hello, carbon copy of every Work Com ever created!

Am I just overthinking this? Overanalyzing myself? Should I just go with it and not worry if it's like something else?
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 2 Ryuhza, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 1:31:36 AM from San Diego, California Relationship Status: I know
M.T. (Saftey In Shadows)
Try to look beyond a premise.

 3 Twentington, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 1:33:52 AM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]Beyond premise and into what?
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 4 Eagal, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 1:38:48 AM from This is a location. Relationship Status: Waiting for Prince Charming
This is a title.
A series is more than just its premise.

Batman is more than just "crazy rich guy beats the crap out of criminals because HIS PARENTS ARE DEEEEEEEEEEEAD!"

The X-Files is more than just the fact that the truth is out there.

Just because you've got a Cloud Cuckoolander starring opposite a Lad Ette doesn't mean you can't make it your own.

And if you do your best, and some people still can't see the forest for the trees, then fie on them. Haters gonna hate.

edited 22nd Jan '13 1:39:52 AM by Eagal

The madness is catching.
 5 Prime of Perfection, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 1:43:56 AM Relationship Status: P.S. I love you
A noble thief is not seen, heard, or felt
Yes, just go with it and don't worry about it. You're overthinking things. Why give a fuck if it's been done before in some way or another? Just make it your own and the experience a different one from that.

Besides, you're on a site that's meant to document as much about fiction as possible and worrying about if something's been done before. tongue I think that alone should sum up why you shouldn't worry about it.
"TIS I! NEVER FEAR, SIMON BELMOUNT IS HERE!! THE POWER OF CHRIST IS INFUSED IN MY SPEAR!"
 6 Morwen Edhelwen, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 1:55:29 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Everything has been done before. It depends on your take on the same thing.

edited 22nd Jan '13 2:08:48 AM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 7 nrjxll, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 2:01:29 AM Relationship Status: Not war
This is rather painful in its myopia.

Terracotta Soldier Man
The best answer to "It's been done" is "But I want to do it my way."

Or perhaps "But I want to do it better, " with the caveat that that might not be the actual end result.

 9 Night, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 2:55:55 AM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
Unlike the rest of you I'd argue this is probably a legitimate criticism.

But then you all seem to have rather...shallow or scattershot, concepts of what premise is.
"Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."
 10 tsstevens, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 4:33:13 AM from Internet, Tasmania Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Researcher
This is how I feel with some works. I'll use some video games I like as an example (flame shields up.

The Call of Duty series took the stagnating Medal of Honor games and made a better title. Then there was Call of Duty 2, still a great game. Then Call of Duty 3 which had been done, World at War which was refreshing with it's different perspective, but even so I didn't feel there was anything new. Modern Warfare gave us something new in bringing in...um, modern warfare, it made it look realistic yet stylish and it was fun. Then came Modern Warfare 2, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield3, and that last one some might feel ripped off the protagonist being interrogated idea from Call of Duty: Black Ops. It's Been Done. Give us something fresh, original, new.

Sports games are a good one. Let's take NBA 2 K as an example. NBA 2 K 3, NBA 2 K 4, NBA 2 K 5, NBA 2 K 6, NBA 2 K 7, NBA 2 K 8, NBA 2 K 9, NBA 2 K 10, what's different from one year to the next? Now to be fair there was The Association, 247 and 2K11's Michael Jordan mode and the game was polished to a mirror shine, but this is a common problem with sports games and yearly installments in general, how are they different?

From a storyline perspective let's again look to video games. In Mass Effect you have to find the McGuffin. Isn't that the plot of Knights of the Old Republic? Or Neverwinter Nights? My answer is so what? Each not only had a fresh idea story wise but they made it appealing and developed good games on top of the story.

Or take Splinter Cell: isn't Sam Fisher just Snake from Metal Gear? Yes. However the stories are much different, the former is more political and realistic for one, the latter is more fantasy. For another both tell the story in different ways, Metal Gear is more philosophical, psychological, and those behind the game have Shown Their Work just to the point of showing off. Splinter Cell doesn't feel like it needs to discuss the threat of nukes for half an hour, it cuts into the story a lot quicker. Third, Metal Gear is very much anti war. Sam Fisher has some anti war in him as well, but it's left to questioning some of his actions or orders, he doesn't need to go on and on about it. But in short yes Splinter Cell had been done but it still works.
The mark of a good story means not feeling like The Angry Video Game Nerd hearing it.
Terracotta Soldier Man
[up][up] Oh, I'll agree that if you rely too much on old formulas, you'll end up with something utterly banal.

I'm just saying that hearing "It's been done" shouldn't stop people from trying just by default.

edited 22nd Jan '13 4:34:22 AM by Specialist290

 12 nrjxll, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 4:37:46 AM Relationship Status: Not war
Unlike the rest of you I'd argue this is probably a legitimate criticism. But then you all seem to have rather...shallow or scattershot, concepts of what premise is.

Not the way the OP is describing it.

But what's your concept, then?

 13 Night, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 6:52:12 AM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
"Fly a spaceship and shoot other spaceships" seems to be what people would say as a premise for something like EVE in this thread. Which completely fails to capture what EVE is and is like. A premise incorporates more than simplistic whats but also hows and whys, sometimes quite nuanced.

EVE is the utopian future of Star Trek in which we all drive around our personal spaceships and can all become warship captains, miners, leaders, market moguls, with added immortality...and brutally subverts the expectations of what such a thing would be like by the fact real people are living in it and are allowed to behave as they wish. It turns out that people who are best able to make sound tactical decisions without reference to morality succeed in the long term if you have no ability to kill them in the short.

Batman? I could spend several paragraphs describing the premise of Batman. (Wikipedia actually does.)

I think the most simplistic premise I've every actually worked with is that behind my never-going-to-happen Evangelion story Winning The Angel War: How an organization that was created to operate child-piloted giant robots which selectively alter physics to fight unknown monsters would actually operate day to day and how it would actually fight.

edited 22nd Jan '13 9:48:32 AM by Night

"Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."
 14 Last Hussar, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 10:36:33 AM from the place is here.
The time is now,
There is nothing new under the sun...

yet it doesn't stop the entertainment industries. In fact you can argue the reason that US Sitcoms don't have British Brevity is because they don't care: Creators of many of the top UK sutcoms, when asked why they stopped at 2 or 3 series reply that they did everything. Compare (original) Office with The Office US. Ricky Gervais stopped at 2 series because the fly-on-the-wall documentary style didn't gel with the going on and on.

Hell, they made 10 series of 'Friends', and most of that had been done before, by them!

edited 22nd Jan '13 12:15:49 PM by LastHussar

Do the job in front of you.
 15 Twentington, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 11:43:47 AM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]#12: Sort of hinted at my concept before. Two female furry characters who live and work together. At least that's what I think I'm doing, since the "it's been done" syndrome has set in like crazy.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

Terracotta Soldier Man
[up][up][up] And all that depends on whether or not you're thinking "high-concept" or "low-concept." It does not make the use of the term premise more legitimate for one than for the other.

But I think we're getting a mite off-subject and pedantic, so that's all I'll say on the matter.

 17 nrjxll, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 4:33:56 PM Relationship Status: Not war
@Night: I'm not sure how any of that is really relevant, given that the OP's understanding of premise seems even narrower than what you're complaining about.

You need to be original, but you have a lot of leeway in how to do so. It's perfectly fine to have a boring premise if you have an interesting new take on it to make it fresh. It's even fine to use a boring overplayed take on a boring overplayed idea if you implement it in a new and original way.

 19 Night, Tue, 22nd Jan '13 11:54:39 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
[up][up]That would be why I find them equally suspect along with everyone else?
"Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."
 20 Mr AHR, Wed, 23rd Jan '13 7:42:46 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
Take it as a good thing! Read where it has been done! Do your research! Find out what works and what doesn't! Consider yourself to be in a lucky situation where you can refine a premise, as opposed to starting from scratch.
 21 Twentington, Thu, 24th Jan '13 11:17:50 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
Okay, are there any Work Coms that are really over the top and goofy? I think going Up to Eleven might give me more ideas, since my art style (limited as it is) is very cartoonish, and my character ideas likewise.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

 22 Mr AHR, Fri, 25th Jan '13 11:53:11 AM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
The Office? Archer is a Work Com WITH SPIES.
...can still bite
One of the ways out of having a premise that's been done before is grab one or two other premises that have been done before and SMASH them all together.

  • Movie: Fantasy!
  • Nerds: Lame.
  • Movie: Space!
  • Nerds: Lame.
  • Movie: FANTASY IN SPACE!
  • Nerds: surprised

edited 28th Jan '13 1:22:32 PM by shiro_okami

 24 Twentington, Mon, 28th Jan '13 7:25:39 PM from Somewhere Relationship Status: Desperate
Mustelidae = awesome
[up]And that's kind of what I have. Odd Couple + Work Com + furry webcomic = author having no idea what he's doing.
Windmill, windmill for the land / Is everybody in?

I recall, once, the folks at the Gainax animation studio once said that they felt it was better to be good than to be original. If you can be original and good at the same time, great. Otherwise, all you get is novelty, and novelty wears off pretty fast.
 
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