As writers we are told there are no new ideas only old ones rewritten. I discovered that by mistake this weekend.
Turner Classic Movies and AMC showed many old Christmas movies including "In the Good Old Summertime" with Judy Garland and Van Johnson. I love old Christmas movies.
A young woman becomes a pen pal with a man she doesn't know. Then she takes a job in a music store. The two people decide to meet. She carries a book and a flower and waits for a long time. As it turns out, her music store boss is her pen pal and discovers as much when he looks through the window of the restaurant to see her sitting there with a book and a flower. He leaves but returns and sits down. Sound familiar?
I have watched "You've Got Mail" so many times I know it by heart. A scene in the picture duplicates the one in the Christmas movie. As I think about the two movies, I recall more and more duplications.
Further research discovered the first version "The Shop Around the Corner," 1940, starred James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan was set in Budapest. "In the Good Old Summertime" came out in 1949 as a remake set in Chicago. "You've Got Mail," 1998, takes email, AOL, Pride and Prejudice and the old versions to a new level set in New York City. Silly me thought the last to be a "new" movie. Little did I know.
Although not always reliable, Wikipedia gives a good account of the three movies.
The moral of this writing is don't give up on your story just because you discover it has been done before. Give it a new twist - change the setting, tweak the plot, add something new and go for it. If writing non-fiction such as advice, remember today's generation doesn't know all those past ideas.
HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.
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