I know. It's happened to all us would-be writers. Still stings, though.
So one of my very first story ideas ever, and we're talking many years ago, was about this shapeshifting, liquid metal I called 'Omnipotanium'. Not long after writing a short story with that title, the movie Terminator II came out, and they had the super cool, shapeshifting metal robot guy.
A few years later I was writing a story where a man with an incredibly vibrant, rewarding life wakes up and finds he's actually lived his whole life in a pod on a space-ship, and that the life he'd thought he'd lived was a fantasy pumped into his mind. Remind you of anything? That's right. "The Matrix." That movie actually came out before I was finished, so I quit on page seventy-something. The rest of my story was different enough; there's this benevolent, alien race transporting the remnants of the humanity to a new, unspoiled planet, the trip is multi-generational, so the fantasies are just their way of giving the sleepers some semblence of a quality-of-life.
Here's my point. If I'd finished that story, and somehow gotten it published, the world would have always assumed I'd ripped-off of The Matrix. At least in part.
But wait, there's more:
- circa 1992. I wrote a 700 page behemeth about the challenges of being a young sorceror's apprentice. And we all know what young sorceror hit the scene a few years later.
- My tenth book, Fiersom's Brood was about a group of teenagers that develop mental powers, and I tried my hardest to make all of their powers original and unique, and then the TV series 'Heroes' hit the air. And yeah, they must've had access to my notebooks because pretty much all of my 'originality' found its way into the show.
- And, as many of you know, I've been trying to write a 'future-of-gaming' book for more than three years now. I'm up to seven different versions of it, and one of the early ones was suspiciously similar to 'Gamer' with Gerard Butler.
So here is my latest discouragement: I started a book last summer that I've been working on off and on (it's up to about 170 pages) that I'm tentatively calling 'Oneironaut'. I've blogged a bit about this one. It's about a team of dream researchers that pair up two teenage boys who are gifted, 'lucid dreamers'. The idea is that they're supposed to link up in other people's dreams as a cutting edge form of dream therapy. Then there's some other stuff about artifacts that can be carried from the dream world into the waking world, but nobody's going to remember that bit. Not now that 'Inception' is making such a big splash. For those of you who don't care to click the link, you could probably guess what the basic concept is about -- people with the ability to connect in other people's dreams.
So now I'm bummed. And you know? I think I just need to break into publishing ASAP -- before I run out of marketable ideas.