And because of this, writers must add their own twists and turns as best they can which still usually means several different story ideas are mixed together. Nothing is new. Really…how can it be with thousands and thousands of books published over the years?! What hopefully distinguishes similar stories from one another is the author’s own “voice”. I believe the emotions and any dialogue the writer gives the characters is especially important in helping that book stand out a little more from others of the same genre.
It’s still tough, though. I find myself thinking, “Isn’t my manuscript like blah-blah that I just read?” Or, “Is this too similar to what I just published?” Then I’ll realize something different about it…some new turn of events, romantic relationships which are not the same, character flaws or strengths unlike a previous character I’ve read/written about, the good vs. evil elements shoot off in a different direction even if some portions might be familiar, the threat to the main character could be a group of baddies in one story but an individual meanie in another, and so on.
I’m sure every single writer has been influenced in some way by some thing they’ve read or watched in a movie. Which is a compliment to the influencing factor. We just need to warp that idea into our own and give it new life. And it never hurts to toss in a new creature or two 😉 (coming from the mind of a paranormal thriller, urban fantasy writer, of course!)