Friday, June 22, 2012

From "Simpsons Did It" To Inspiration

Tonight, I watched the first 10 episodes of Avatar: The Legend of Korra. It truly is an amazing series, right from the beginning. This is a show played on Nickelodeon; it's supposed to be a kids show, and yet it deals with very complex governmental power plays, stark differences in philosophies, challenges on several fronts (not just good vs. evil), and of course, significant interpersonal feelings. All of this is tempered with the action of martial arts that are infused with magical powers. This show deserves all the credit and accolades it has already acquired in 10 episodes.

At one point during this marathon, I got hit with the "aw crap" depression. This show is so incredibly similar to the fantasy world I am building right now that I didn't want to work on the project anymore. I have different kingdoms who are at war and warriors who can summon elemental powers. I have one brilliant bastard who can manipulate people to think they are taking advantage while they fall into his trap. I have in the future a world where technology can replicate the powers of these elemental summoners, for those who are not magically inclined.

All I could feel was the jeers of people telling me that I ripped off Korra (despite the fact I've been working on it before that show existed, let alone before I ever watched it). My friend, who I was watching with tried to cheer me up by saying "great minds think alike", which did not help me much. Later on, when I had another complaint of the show using an idea that I had, she shouted, "Simpsons did it!" And then I did get cheered up.

Let's be real. It's always been done before. Even the greatest heroes and best examples were inspired by what existed before they made their legendary works. Nothing you can do is incomparable to things that already exist.

First of all, focus on the things that are different. For example, where Korra has a massive war between the benders and the non-benders, my world has them working in tandem; their peace with one another is established.

But if you already feel in the dumps, I can't stop you from focusing on the similarities. That's fine. Do it. But draw inspiration. You are creating something that is similar to a brilliant and epic work! You came up with an idea that is already established to be wonderful and well-received. You have come up with characters and ideas that are considered brilliant. Your brain is in an amazing place. And since your work is different, it means that you can make something that is equally spectacular to what you are seeing.

It is always easier said than done, to go from "Simpsons did it" to inspiration within a story, but it can be done. And if you really believe in yourself, you may find yourself going from one point to the other in 20 minutes or less.

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