I have been re-watching Avatar (2009). The first thing I noticed, which I had not thought about before, is the motif of Jakes’ eyes.
I had been working on my current project’s story for quite some time when Avatar came out. My first reaction was oh, no, there are similarities with my story and I just know people are going to claim I stole my ideas from the movie. (I had a similar that is a scene from my story feeling when I saw the trailer for Battle: Los Angeles (2011).) I was already expecting people to claim I stole from Star Wars because that movie seems to be the most popular movie for accusing writers of having pillaged.
The problem is that stories have the same structure to their telling. It is in the nature of the human mind to tell and to want to hear stories told with this structure. The structure is often called the hero’s journey. Also, stories have the same archetypal characters that appear repeatedly in legends and stories from every culture that has ever existed on Earth. Therefore, similar appearances between stories are unavoidable.
The goal is to tell a story with its own uniqueness, which is virtually impossible because over the course of thousands of years of written stories and tens of thousands of years of unwritten stories, every story has already been told. Simply because the writer changes the method of delivering a message from a rock to a cell phone does not mean the story is different from the one told three thousand years ago.
I continue working toward telling a distinctive hero’s journey in my own story.