September 25, 2015

That Time 'The Kings Of Summer' Almost Crushed My Writer's Soul

The Kings of Summer vs The Church In The WildwoodThe Kings Of Summer. It's a beautiful coming of age story about three teenage boys who run away from home to live in a house they built themselves - to live off the land, and find themselves among the wilderness of the forest. It was beautifully shot; the story was heartwarming, funny and touching. The soundtrack was gorgeous.

It was magical.

It tugged at my emotions and made me want to feel the grass beneath my own bare feet.

Except for one small problem.
Last night I watched

I saw my own story all over it and all that kept repeating in my head as I watched it was 'crap, crap, crap, crap!'

When you've been pouring yourself into a project, it's natural to see it everywhere - to hear it in whispers, to see it in signs, to read it in newspapers, to glimpse it across the faces of your loved ones...

That's all well and good. The whole world is a writer's inspiration.

What is NOT all well and good is seeing what you thought was your very own idea, birthed in your own imaginative mind, playing out on a screen from a script written years before your wrote the first word of your story.

This is a sure way to find your writer-spirit crushed.

The Kings of Summer

Main character: Joe (JoJo), fifteen years old

One dead parent, one emotionally damaged parent

Finds a clearing in the woods and builds a house

A quest for freedom and self-discovery

The Church In The Wildwood

Main character: Joseph (JoJo), fifteen years old

One dead parent, one emotionally damaged parent

Converts an old hunting cabin into a a clearing in the woods

A quest for freedom and self-discovery

Do you see why I had a hard time with it?

Of course, I got to the end of the film and realized that really, The Kings of Summer and The Church In The Wildwood are actually completely different - holding enough similarities to make me question myself but not enough to make me question my story.

Because, here's the thing: there's nothing new under the sun. Everything comes from something. My ideas came from a million sources BUT no matter the similarities I saw I will always know that my ideas didn't come from this film.

I'm very close to writing 'The End' at the bottom of my manuscript and I hadn't even heard of this movie until it showed up in my 'You May Like' feed on Netflix last night.

What annoys me most is that we both share the same character name. I mean - how does that even happen??!! (Though they never call theirs Joseph and I never call mine I guess there's that...)

All in all, it comes down to this: my story is still mine, similarities be damned! You can't stop me now! I'm almost at the end...
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  1. I would say stress not over the similarities. "There's nothing [completely] new under the sun." I've been peaking around other's writings and in my opinion (not that it's some sort of authority), you know what you're doing. Great title. Beautiful writing. Great concept. (And already have a nice cover.)

    1. Thanks so much, Rollan! That's wonderful encouragement and I really needed to hear it! I'm trying not to live in a place of self-doubt but it's easy to get side-tracked when something pops up that makes you question yourself.


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