Monday, October 26, 2009

The Comedy Of Errors Has The Joke Of Two People Looking Like Each Other. Twice.

So I had an idea the other day - yes, yes, I know, it's a real Dear Diary moment, ha de har har - specifically, an idea for a story; I liked the idea, and it seemed to pop into my head fully-formed, and I could see various avenues to it, and how it could be made a bit more real-world than a lot of stories, and I could see myself enjoying writing it, though there was one big hurdle to all this...

It felt like I'd stolen it from somewhere.

Now, I don't know if this is actually the case or not, but the way the idea seemed to (as they say in House) present, with a lot of features already in place, seemed a bit too easy somehow, as if I could only have come up with the notion by nicking it.

Anyway, here's the idea:

Two brothers - identical twins. One of them is murdered, and returns to the other as a ghost - as twins, they always had a strong 'connection', and death doesn't seem to have ended that. The ghost twin helps his living brother look into the circumstances of the murder, and it turns out that in fact the wrong twin was killed, due to the similarity of appearance. In investigating all this, though, the living twin would not find people co-operative and willing to let him in to chat, as so often seems to be the case in such tales, but instead would struggle to get people to talk to him at all, as they're still dealing with their grief. And of course, when he discovers that he was the target, the killer, at much the same time, realises that he hasn't finished the job after
Okay, so a couple of obvious touchstones are Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased) and the comic character Deadman, and there's a wilful element to the 'difficulty of investigation' aspect that clearly comes from me having seen too many episodes of Murder, She Wrote and similar TV shows, as well as a wish to do something crime-based but not with too much of a standard gumshoe element. So it's just a bundle of influences, I guess, but my sneaking feeling that this is a film or book I've previously experienced is enough to put me off writing it at the moment (in any form other than the summary in the paragraph above, I mean).

I spend a lot of time on this blog posting images I feel are similar - some of them clearly intended to be, others mere chance - but I'm equally interested in the similarity of ideas, and the way that two people can come to similar conclusions, or come up with similar notions, by what seems to be pure chance; granted, there are scientists who do work in specific fields with the same aim, which is perhaps more inevitable, and Charles Fort wrote about what I think he called 'Steam-Engine time', which was the idea that certain ideas or inventions have a 'time' when their creation is almost inevitable; being a pretentious sort, I'm rather reminded of the final lines from Yeats's poem The Second Coming, which ask "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

I always marvel at the inventiveness of musicians, apparently able to create new songs from the limited number of musical notes in the octave, and it's often claimed that there are a limited number of stories - the exact number varies, it seems, but it's rarely more than about a dozen - so I guess I shouldn't really be surprised that the ideas which flit across the landscape of my mind sometimes strike me as pleasing, but at the same time as probably being a swipe.

So anyway, I dismissed the twins story idea (well, scribbled it in the notebook and may do something with it in an altered form in the future, but for now that's much the same thing), and didn't really think anything more about it.

Until, over the weekend, when I was out and about, and I saw a pair of identically dressed identical twin girls. And then, less than an hour later, a pair of identically dressed identical twin boys.

Which wasn't creepy in the least. No, not at all.

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