Wednesday, February 8, 2012

RTW: Your Dream is My Wish!

Today's Roadtrip Wednesday topic over at YA Highway is

What SNI (Super New Idea) were you psyched to work on, but discovered it was too close to something already done?

I've had this happen, but it wasn't until later on did I discover (with more than a few heavy sighs) that a character design I thought I dreamed up, had already been dreamed up before... by Neil Gaiman.

Speaking of dreams. Here's the character:
Dream or Morpheus from Gaiman's
Sandman comics.
I also need to state that these comics have been around since 1989, and I didn't create my character
until almost ten years later.
Somehow in all that time, even if I read comics (most of which I got from my older brother) I hadn't run across Sandman before.

Here is my character:

Jakin the Wishmaster from a series of short stories I wrote in high school. Jakin was originally dressed all in black like Morpheus, but when I discovered just how much they resemble each other, I redesigned Jakin's clothes.                       


I still prefer him in black.

You might wonder what inspired my character since I hadn't discovered Sandman yet.

The Goblin King!

"Well, of course!" I hear you saying. "It all makes sense now!"

I love that movie, and the first short story I wrote with my Wishmaster patterned very closely to Labyrinth. It was about a spoiled teenage girl who made a wish and the Wishmaster showed up and whisked her away to a magical wish kingdom. Of course, all her wishes turned out to be horrible mockeries of what she really wanted. 

This story laid the groundwork for other fantasy stories I'd write in the future. It still has a special place in my heart since it was my first epic fantasy story. Maybe in time I'll rework that story and turn it into a YA novel, as a tribute to my favorite 80s movie.

Now that I look at them together, my Wishmaster doesn't really resemble Morpheus as much as I thought he did....

What about you? What idea were you stoked to write and realized someone else already wrote it?


  1. You should definitely write it for a YA audience. I'd love a story that is a nod to Labrynth. Love! Plus, your artwork of Jakin is wonderful :-)

  2. It's very cool how many similarities there are between your character and Morpheus. You should still do something with it cause it's pretty cool

  3. Oooh I love your artwork!

    This happened to me a lot with my really early manuscripts... I think it's important to remember, though, that there really is a fine line between something that is "too close" and something would be okay if the idea came from you and you handled it originally. (I guess that might have been what you were thinking in that last sentence...)

    Also, consider checking out our 100 follower giveaway! We have some readerly/writerly T-shirts and a classic book up for grabs. :)

  4. Oh you are so much more talented than me. Stick figures don't even look right.

  5. I love your both versions of your Jakin! Also, Neil Gaiman is a genius. I can't decide if it makes me depressed to read his books, because I will never have his gift with words, or excited because I can be inspired by him.

  6. These illustrations are gorgeous! I think with visual art you have a bit more room for similarities--but even so, I don't think I would ever think your Wishmaster was too similar to Gaiman's Morpheus.

    Oh, and I totally adore Labyrinth. :)

  7. Jaime, now I'm getting really inspired to do just that! Thanks!

    Carrie, yea I noticed it when I saw the book "The Dream Hunters" illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano on comic book shop shelves. I nearly died! But I still love Jakin, so I'll have to use him someday.

    Susan, thanks! And I agree. I'll have to check out your contest. I love classic books!

    Eve, aw thanks!

    Laurie, thanks! I admire Gaiman. I STILL need to read Sandman, but I have read The Graveyard Book and I really liked it. His imagination is wonderful.

    Crystal, thanks! I'm thinking he's not now that I redesigned him, especially. With all this stirring up old ideas, I might have to work on a new novel!

  8. This sounds fantastic and nothing like Sandman or Labyrinth. I can see a little bit of Morpheus in your character just because of the hair.

  9. That voodoo song from Labrinyth will be engraved on my brain forever. I really liked your character. I second what everyone else is saying about continuing with it.

  10. My current antagonist is inspired (partially) by Jareth, too! I wonder how many of his literary children are wandering around the fantasy market today?

  11. Labyrinth was definitely one of my formative movies, too! I usually enjoy helping my nieces and nephews discover great stuff like that, but when I walked in on them watching Labyrinth, I actually felt betrayed! "But- but- that's MY movie!" I got over it though.

    Submitted on 2012/02/09 at 6:34 am
    That is really interesting, You are an excessively skilled blogger.

  13. I like this article very much. I’ll certainly be back.

  14. I like this article very much. I’ll certainly be back.

  15. Awesome inspiration! I really hope you come back to that story in the future. I'd definitely be a reader!

  16. When I was 18 I started research into a book about the U.S. government purposely infecting Native Americans living on a SW rez to figure out a cure for a specific illness. I was inspired by the outbreak of hantavirus in Arizona, as it broke out on a reservation first. I did research for years, only to discover Tony Hillerman had recently put out the same sort of thing in a book (though when I read it, it wasn't exactly the same). I was so discouraged that it took me a decade to pick back up and try my hand at a novel again. I still have all that research.

    One thing I've learned since then is that similar stories are okay, as long as they aren't identical. If your story is different enough, you should still go for it!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z


I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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