As a writer, you live with two big fears. The first being that someone will beat you to telling your story. Yes, that's right. If you're a writer and you're reading this, other writers have that same fear... the ticking clock of a great idea that you're afraid has already been brought to life. Maybe they'll do it better than you... maybe they'll do it worse... but they'll get there first, and that's terrifying. At least, it is to me. I worry that I'm too late to the game... every day.
The second fear is that people will see what you've written and think you stole your ideas or themes from someone else. I mean the reality is that there are no new ideas. There aren't. I once saw someone claim on Twitter that their idea had NEVER been done before. NEVER. EVER. Some folks laughed outright and some laughed inside our head and mentally patted this writer on the head and thought, "That's cute that you actually believe that."
Wow... I sound jaded, but I don't care.
The truth is: It's all been done before. IT ALL HAS.
I've been thinking this week that I'd go a step further and say, "YOU WILL STEAL IDEAS." We're not set in the middle of the ocean of nothingness to write our stories. Our stories are the product of so many different sources. Sometimes, it's as simple as a theme from a story you read and you think, "I could do that differently/better/with jazz hands and a hip wiggle." Sometimes, it's because you stayed up late watching Big Bang Theory, had some Chinese food which made your stomach grumble, and your dreams were out of control whacked... and, well, doable. Pop culture, a story your mom once told you, a book, a sign outside the women's restroom... we are all derivative. Your stories are not unique thoughts born of nothingness and ether and magic.
Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest.
BTW, Sentinel's Run... is based on Terminator, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, X-men, Running Man, a documentary on Kuwait, this boy I once knew, these pictures I once saw, this knife I researched for my Honor books, a fascination with farm equipment, and a sleepless night where I thought, "That could be a novel... really." But mostly Terminator. Well... about 17-18%. Of what I remember from when I watched Terminator when I was a teenager... and hated the ending so I never watched it again. It's completely derivative. We all are.