How many times have you written a story or thought of an idea, only to read or see something similar, somewhere else, a day, a month, or a year later?
I wonder what Dan Santat, creator of The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend and the creators of Big Hero Six thought when they first saw each other’s chubby white guy protagonists.
Did they notice the physical similarities?
If so, did they say, “Oh, look! Great minds think alike! I’m so flattered!”? Or, did they say words you shouldn’t express in picture books or PG movies?
I had just finished a manuscript about a dog who glories in the food of his master, loses all hope when his master changes his eating habits, and regains hope again when a meatball plops on his tail. Then I saw the short film The Feast.
I wrote an alphabet manuscript revealing the ABCs through children’s name. Then I read Annoying ABC by Barbara Bottner, an alphabet book revealing the ABCs through children’s names.
I changed the character to a pig. Then I saw a television commercial with a flying pig and remembered Mo Willems’ Today I Will Fly.
Is nothing sacred?
Sigh . . .
How about a Mouse? Or better yet, an elephant, you say?
You’re killin’ me.
Idea clones aren’t new:
Books serve to show a man that those original thoughts of his aren’t very new after all.
― Abraham Lincoln
Idea clones don’t haunt the pros.
Look at Beekle. Dan Santat knows his creation is a totally different guy than Big Hero Six. He’s laughing all the way to DreamWorks Animation, with his Caldecott Medal.
Everyone loves Art. No one cares that his name isn’t original.
Really, there’s not an original idea out there. If you can imagine it, someone else can and likely has. It’s like naming your child “Ava,” thinking you’ve thought of the most original name in the world.
Luckily, no one else is going to create an Ava or an Art just like your Ava or Art. So, in our own small way, we can be original in our authenticity.
Here’s to chubby white guys, Avas and Arts. We look forward to seeing more of you in the future.