Saturday, June 1, 2013

Has every story been already told?


My book "The Forsaken" (The Children of Cain) (volume one) has been out for a month now! I've had my launch party which was a blast and I'm just reviving my advertising campaign. Recently my husband and I were brainstorming for ideas and thought maybe it wouldn't hurt to rent one of those kiosks in the mall and sell the book there. Ironically, tonight as we strolled through the mall with our kids, we came across a man doing just that. A local man named C. David Belt who asked if he could tell us about his book as we were passing by. I said sure and listened to his whole pitch. When he asked my name, I told him I was an author as well and had just published my first book May 1st. We chatted a little about publishing and such. I gave him one of my bookmarks/business cards and I took one of his.

I went to find my husband, who, of course, had wandered off like he always does into one of his favorite stores. When I found him I had to tell him the crazy shocking coincidence I had just experienced. On the cover of this fellow author’s book the title reads: "The Unwilling" (The Children of Lilith) (volume 1). I thought, "You've got to be kidding me! What are the chances I would bump into this guy one month after my book came out, an author with a series that has a startling similar title to mine?" My husband had to go back and talk to him. First, to pick his brain about the whole kiosk thing and how profitable it is, and second, to get a better idea of what this author's book was really about and if there were any other similarities to my book. As we talked to him it became clear that our books are nothing alike. We just both happened to pick similar titles for our series. He explained that Lilith, in his mythology, is the daughter of Cain not one of Adam's supposed wives. She is the mother of all Vampires. "Wait, where have I heard that one before... Oh, yeah, they're doing that on HBO's "True Blood", too!"  His book is also an LDS Fiction, believe it or not; an interesting idea for a Vampire novel if you ask me.

This encounter, along with other recent observations, has made me wonder, "Has every story already been told? Are there any truly original ideas left?" The answer is yes and no. After all this time with mankind thinking, exploring, imagining, creating, and storytelling, of course you'll see similarities, duplicated themes, titles, ideas, and names. However, every one of us sees the world differently. We can all look at the same picture and get a different emotion from it. We can all hear the same song and extract a different denotation. We can hear the same story and get inspired to write one of our own, however, they won't be alike other than the fact that they came from the same concept.
Did J.K Rowling invent witchcraft, wizardry, mermaids, dragons, werewolves, prophecies of a chosen one, or an indomitable villain? No, she didn't. Did J. R. R. Tolkien invent Dwarves, Elves, a dark lord, dragons, Wizards, Trolls, and Goblins? No, he did not. However, what these authors--and others like them--did do was take the basic elements of mythology, folklore, and legend and twist them. They re-imagined them into their very own unique tale, building their own worlds on the bones of ancient stories passed down through the generations of culture and literature. Along the way they contributed a few new ideas of their own to the mix, creating Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and new races of creatures like Hobbits and Oarcs. And because they dared to let their imaginations runaway with them they created something very special and earned a place in the history of literature.

Recently, while playing with my three young sons, my oldest son said something that sparked an idea for a new book. I started writing it and told my mother a little about it. She said, "Oh, someone already wrote a book like that. Your sister would know the one I'm talking about." So, I asked said sister and she explained the concept of this other novel and really it wasn't that much like my own at all. Should I let this stop me from writing my own book? So someone else had a similar idea to mine; I had not heard of the book when I started writing mine. Also, because that author and I are two very different and unique individuals even if our books have a similar concept they will be completely different in every other way.

So what's my point here? My point is that, in literature, it's almost impossible to copy another person's idea. You cannot write exactly all the same words in the same order develop the same exact characters and plots as someone else because you are you. Each writer, each human being has their own way of seeing and interpreting the world, thus no two writers will ever write the same book. Anyway, I just wanted to share that with you all and encourage other authors to keep writing. Don't let someone else's similar idea stop you from writing your own story. Dream up your own world and take it to the limits of your imagination. No two people are the same. No two books are the same either. So, in case you were wondering, I am going to write that other story. Maybe I'll tell you about it someday. For now I'm still working on "The Children of Cain" and promoting my first book "The Forsaken" If you're interested in looking up the fellow I met tonight his website is www.unwillingchild.com his Publisher's site is www.parablespub.com. His book is called "The Unwilling" and his name C. David Belt. If you want you can always read mine and his back to back and let me know how we match up. To get my book go to www.rjcraddock.com. I plan on getting his book and reading it myself. Once I have it and have read it, I'll be sure to post a review of it here.

Now go forth, be fruitful and multiply the many great ideas upon the face of the earth... and go get your copy of my book while you’re at it. Until next time...

R.J. Craddock