One of the greatest challenges that writers face is coming up with new and fresh ideas for stories. It is a struggle to search for something revolutionary to introduce to the world. When that new idea is found it is so exciting that we rush to our writing desks and work to capture it before it slips away.
The thing is, there aren’t many new ideas out there. Once time is spent developing a brilliant new idea elements of it start showing up everywhere. It’s like when buying a new car, before it seemed there weren’t many on the road. After going through the effort of getting one then suddenly they seem to be everywhere. Now what? That new idea is spoiled. Obviously if can’t be used if so many others have come up with similar ideas. It would be cheating, wouldn’t it?
No, it wouldn’t. Just like every car is unique to its owner even though the make and model is the same, every writer has a unique take on how they develop an idea.
Consider James Cameron’s smash hit Avatar. It is visually stunning and has strong emotional and action packed climaxes. Every detail has been carefully thought through from the anatomy of the local flora and fauna to the cultural hierarchy and traditions of the Navi. However the ideas behind the story are not new. Pocahontas, Ferngully, and many others carry the same basic story. Man travels to foreign locale, becomes accepted by one of the indigenous people, falls in love, is shunned by both his people and the indigenous people, and must prove himself to both to keep his love.
Even though Avatar, Pocahontas, and Ferngully all carry a very similar story they are very different movies. They each have a different feel and look, their protagonists have unique personalities, the conflicts are distinct.
So when seeking new ideas don’t be discouraged when you find they are not 100% new. Write it anyway! No one writes the way you do and no one thinks the way you do. Seek out ways to make your ideas shine in a way that only you can.