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(1,423 posts)
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 08:14 AM Apr 2020

"Simpsons writers have already done that."

Wanting to write yet another short story and ripping ideas from current events and popular culture can have disappointing results.

Titled my new story, written in a couple of nights, Piranha Pool, my take on the popular ABC show, "Shark Tank."

Sort of a murder mystery with some Philip K. Dickian style of psychological and supernatural elements.

Satisfied with this story, I added it to the pile, parked my ass in front of the TV to watch the antenna TV comedy hour and behold, a Simpsons episode had a segment called, "Vultures Nest," complete with Mr. Burns as the top billionaire.

My old writing friend told me that all stories have already been written and that we could only expand on those frameworks. I'm a junior high dropout and he went to writing college so I'll take his word for it, disheartening as it is.

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"Simpsons writers have already done that." (Original Post) nilesobek Apr 2020 OP
Every song... N_E_1 for Tennis Apr 2020 #1
I would say all themes and plots have been done mercuryblues Apr 2020 #2
I wrote a vampire story too called, Cyrus of Cydonia," (a master vampire from Mars). nilesobek Apr 2020 #3
So you know it can be done mercuryblues Apr 2020 #5
Don't feel blue PJMcK Apr 2020 #4
The story by Homer, The Iliad seems to combine all those ingredients. nilesobek Apr 2020 #7
At the risk of being nit-picky, PoindexterOglethorpe Apr 2020 #9
Fair enough PJMcK Apr 2020 #11
Over the years I've seen various numbers as to how many stories there are. PoindexterOglethorpe Apr 2020 #12
You may have heard that there are only 6 basic plots in fiction, although that number changes... TreasonousBastard Apr 2020 #6
I downloaded a piano player program nilesobek Apr 2020 #8
But it's your voice that matters! SheltieLover Apr 2020 #10
Its nothing like the Simpsons episode. nilesobek Apr 2020 #13
Why not electronically self-publish? SheltieLover Apr 2020 #14
well, so what mopinko May 2020 #15

N_E_1 for Tennis

(10,205 posts)
1. Every song...
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 08:31 AM
Apr 2020

Has been sung...every book written...every invention a rehash of an idea...
Yet...new songs are on the charts...new books adorn a novel design of shelf...the dictionary adds words each year...don’t be disheartened...a change of perspective can hit the prism in a slightly different way...then...your decision...


(14,637 posts)
2. I would say all themes and plots have been done
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 08:33 AM
Apr 2020

The variables are the characters their reactions and twists.

Take Anne Rice and Steven King. There have been 100,000's of books written about vampires, but what was different about theirs that made them famous authors?

Even King's book, Carrie, wasn't a new concept, teen angst and bullying and revenge. Yet it was a best seller and made into a movie.


(1,423 posts)
3. I wrote a vampire story too called, Cyrus of Cydonia," (a master vampire from Mars).
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 08:39 AM
Apr 2020

Surprisingly, that story got me a cash offer from a writing agent. I never took that story seriously but it taught me one thing: the horror genre is always popular.


(22,227 posts)
4. Don't feel blue
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 08:45 AM
Apr 2020

There are only seven basic plots that all stories follow. They are:

1. Overcoming the Monster
2. Rags to Riches
3. The Quest
4. Voyage and Return
5. Comedy
6. Tragedy
7. Rebirth

Sometimes a story will contain more than one of these.

Here's more detail:


It's the expression of these ideas that make stories unique. Keep writing! I'm sure your story is captivating!


(1,423 posts)
7. The story by Homer, The Iliad seems to combine all those ingredients.
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 09:15 AM
Apr 2020

The long trip home to his wife with uncertain outcome.

I forgot about rebirth, a powerful human theme in religion and ceremony. That feeling of being reborn must be exhilarating.


(26,041 posts)
9. At the risk of being nit-picky,
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 10:35 AM
Apr 2020

comedy, rebirth, and tragedy are not plots. They are types of story telling.


(22,227 posts)
11. Fair enough
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 08:18 PM
Apr 2020

Still, I'd suggest you peruse the Wikipedia article I linked. The point is that there are fundamentally 7 stories. Feel free to pick nits!

Stay safe, PO!


(26,041 posts)
12. Over the years I've seen various numbers as to how many stories there are.
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 09:46 PM
Apr 2020

And even though the Wiki article calls comedy, tragedy, and rebirth, plots, they are still not plots. It's a carelessly written article.

(Says the occasional writer who cannot plot to save her life.)


(43,049 posts)
6. You may have heard that there are only 6 basic plots in fiction, although that number changes...
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 08:50 AM
Apr 2020

But, it could even be argued that Sherlock Holmes only had only one plot to all of his adventures. And Miss Marple and Poirot the same.

OTOH, there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, and look how many books we've made of them.

Pianists have it easier with 88 keys, and how many different tunes have been made from those notes...

Don't worry about "who did it first" because somebody did. Best you should worry about who does it best.


(1,423 posts)
8. I downloaded a piano player program
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 09:31 AM
Apr 2020

to try and learn some classics. I'm lousy and turn the speed all the way down with numerous mistakes.

I'll just give up then watch child prodigies in China on YouTube killing it at only five years old.


(57,073 posts)
10. But it's your voice that matters!
Tue Apr 7, 2020, 05:09 PM
Apr 2020

And your characters, their quirks and how they interact and evolve.

I encourage you to write it anyway, despite the Simpsons. Who knows where the process will take you?

I've studied a good bit of art therapy, including writing endeavors. Many experts in the field believe that all art forms are sort of autonomous entities wanting to create through us. Think of the shamanic conpcept of the hollow bone theory.

Perhaps the story needs to be retold, restoried. 😊👍


(1,423 posts)
13. Its nothing like the Simpsons episode.
Wed Apr 8, 2020, 09:41 AM
Apr 2020

The story is complete it's just that I was thinking I was alone in ripping this from popular culture. How naive.

I fear success much more than continual failure so this fits right into my persona.

That's why I've never submitted anything yet.


(57,073 posts)
14. Why not electronically self-publish?
Wed Apr 8, 2020, 09:54 AM
Apr 2020

I'll bet lots of folks are reading quite a bit more since being home. I'm pretty sure Amazon makes it really easy to do. They even have artists who will whip up cover art for starting somewhere around $5. I've never done it, but several friends have with amazing success.

They have cautioned to have several people read & suggest edits. Omitting this step, they say, is one of the biggest mistakes authors make because readers will be quickly turned off if there are typos, incorrect word usage, or grammatical errors.

The other suggestion is to have 2-3 more books ready to publish before e-publishing the 1st one because if readers find resonance with your work, they will rip through the first book & buy another. If a 2nd ism't already on the market, they lose interest & look elsewhere.

I hope this is helpful in some way. 😚

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