Author Topic: Being Creative: Stealing From Yourself!  (Read 2803 times)

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on: 03:14:09 AM 01/01/13
So you're watching a movie. Officer Bunion is on the hunt for the mysterious Foot Fetish Killer. Things are mildly exciting, and Rob Schneider is passable as the dopey sidekick.

"I see where this is going," you think, "Schneider's gotten some acting chops... I bet he's the villain. They're portraying him as mentally challenged because they want to surprise us with the fact he's actually a brutal toe-licking serial killer."

Then, the last ten minutes of the film. Surprise! Officer Bunion IS the Foot Fetish Killer. The hero is the villain, and has been all along. His alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, and recent vehicular collision combined to create an alternate personality who happened to be his absolute arch-enemy.

For the millionth time, Hollywood jabs its digit directly into your already ravaged and presumably disease-ridden eyeballs. Roll credits.

Oh, well. Your ending was better, so screw those guys. It's too bad, because the other outcome would have been genuinely awesome.

But hey... don't you actually have part of your own great original story, now? Hell, you're not plagiarizing anything. It didn't end how you thought. That twist revelation is yours for the taking.

Okay, so maybe you have to come up with other new story elements, but you have what is arguably one of the most difficult elements a writer has to come up with. The ending.

It doesn't end there, however.

Remember that preview you watched? The one for that completely badass-looking movie that seemed to be about Aztec warriors resurrecting from the dead on 12/12/12 in order to slaughter the Human Race?

Yeah. Then you saw the actual film and discovered it's actually a two-hour snoozefest in which a few undead guys in hilarious outfits try to warn us of our harmful ways. There's an entire scene that revolves around the Aztec representatives speaking before Congress. I kid you not, one of them even starts crying.

What the f**k?

Well, you may see where this is going. If the story you thought they were going to tell is so badass, why aren't you writing it?!

Again, yes, you can't do a complete rip with more action scenes - but the premise is there, waiting for you in a sesual nightgown with a rose in its teeth. Replace Aztecs with Atlanteans, make it less about the Senate passing the Anti-Ragnarok Measure (ARM) and more about a whole Hell of a lot of people getting slaughtered.

Instead of appearing magically on 12/12/12, how about the undead rising when James Cameron sends a camera sub to the recently discovered ruins of their island?

I'd read that graphic novel. I'd watch that movie. I'd buy the T-Shirt and make you autograph my man-breasts. (We can do it the easy way or the hard way.)

As you no doubt already know, the examples above are not the only way you can effectively steal from yourself.

Remember when you were a kid and you thought an Octopus lived in the Washing Machine? Sounds like the beginnings of an all-ages story to me. How about when you accidentally knocked your wife down the stairs and your imagination immediately had you tried, convicted, and executed for her murder? Sounds like an interesting problem for an innocent character.

By the way... she's okay, right? I've been meaning to ask.

Don't let those passing thoughts disappear into the ether without a proper review! Keep your eyes, your ears, and your mind open. Trust that YOUR mind can form a legitimately awesome storyline - even if it came from how you wished something else had been written.

In a world where material is copied outright and repackaged as the next Summer Hit, allowing yourself to be inspired this way is no crime.

Rob your own brain blind. It'll end up thanking you.
If I should live until I wake, I pray the web my death to fake.


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on: 01:28:40 PM 04/14/13
this is great stuff, really practical and common- awesome idea
The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.