October 3, 2014 in Part I

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10/3/2014, 12:49 PM
C.S. Jones
Warning: Spoilers ahead. Highlight the white bits at the risk of ruining some twists. But they're important to the topic.

Several months ago, Cracked did a fantastic podcast about how people who’ve never met tend to have the same ideas for stories at the same time. I recommend anyone with an interest in fiction writing check it out.

And yesterday, Pixar released the first teaser for Inside Out. A few months ago, I mentioned that a huge movie was coming out with a startlingly close premise to mine. I was hoping to avoid having to write about it, but if I’m going to, no better time than now.

They both take place inside the minds of preteen girls facing the harsh realities of life for the first time (although mine covers a much longer timespan); they both involve the personifications of emotions and parts of the mind; and they both, apparently, even feature a fantasy castle that ends up abandoned and neglected.

I’m confident that my execution’s different enough to avoid being made redundant, but a new reader might think I stole certain parts of their plot in order to ride some future wave of success. In reality, it’s the exact opposite. Both of us started in 2010, but I had no idea this movie was a thing until June. And when I found out, I came very close to quitting; that’s part of what led to that two-month hiatus. Eventually, I decided to continue as planned, but since it was too late to change the premise, I’ve been trying to change the details to distance myself from it in smaller ways.

In the unfinished novel this comic’s based on, there was a scene towards the end where Yume leaves the dream world and explores other parts of her mind. That’s been cut. (Although it’s probably for the best, since it wasn’t going anywhere.) There was another one where Laurie has an awkward meal with her dad and the narration explores what they’re both thinking. That’s gone, too. But there are still some things I can’t avoid. For a minor example, I intentionally redesigned 10 year-old Laurie to keep her from having the same hairstyle as their protagonist, but this just ended up making her look like her mom.

And although we won’t really see her for a while, 18 year-old Laurie has always looked and behaved a lot like Sadness. (In case you couldn’t tell by the gray and gloomy art style, depression, alienation, and other such Serious Issues™ will come to play a big role in this comic.)

However, I’m at least working on giving her a more three-dimensional personality and a wider range of emotions, so maybe that’s for the best.

Now, to get this out of the way: I know Pixar’s too big to care about some pissant webcomic. And it’s not them I’m worried about, it’s just knowing that some people will see my premise and my characters a year or two from now and assume I ripped them off. And that the comic may have to spend the rest of its (estimated 5-6-year) run in the shadow of a massive blockbuster I could never hope to compare to. I’m not actually afraid of Disney suing me. ...But maybe they should. It’d be great publicity.

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