Chaoslike plot points
I started writing my book in late 1997. I finished the first draft in November 2014 (though as of 2018, I am far from done editing it). That is an insane amount of years to work on one book, but I procrastinate and I have writer's inertia, and stuff. Over the years, I have often seen things in other movies and TV shows that remind me of things that happen in my book, and I worry that because those things came out first, if my own book ever does come out, people might notice the similarities and think I stole those ideas. Which I totally didn't. (Even if something came out before I actually got around to writing the scenes or chapters containing certain plot points, since it's taken so long to finish the book, you should know that I conceived most of the major ideas in my book way back when I first started it, in 1997-98.) So here, I am going to list as many of those things as I can recall. (And I'll add to the list whenever anything new- or old- occurs to me.)
1998. The movie City of Angels came out. (It was based on the 1987 film "Wings of Desire," which I've never seen, but kind of hope to, someday.) I didn't see "City of Angels" until at least 1999 (I think), and as I write this entry (on September 30, 2014), I don't recall having worried about a similar plot point in my book until just yesterday, when I got the idea for a character in my book to make a reference to that movie, which ties into a plot point in my book. Which is why it suddenly occurred to me to think, "Oh yeah, that is similar, I guess I should add it to the chaoslike page, just in case." It may have occurred to me to worry about it when the movie first came out, or when I first saw it, but if so... I have since forgotten, in the intervening years.
1999. I was watching the opening crawl of Star Wars: Episode I, which mentioned "the newly elected queen of Naboo." I worried when I read that, that people would think I'd stolen the idea of elected royalty from George Lucas, even though I'd had my idea back in 1997. Of course, neither of us actually invented the idea, because in real life, there have been elected royals, in some times and places. Though I don't think I'd ever heard of such a thing, until I looked it up online a bunch of years later.
2005. When Naruto began airing in the United States, I found that the anime includes a jutsu called "shadow clone," which I worried sounded a bit too close to "shadeclone" (a term which doesn't even appear in the first book, but which I'd been planning all along to include in the second and third books). Of course, the shadeclone in my books is nothing like a shadow clone, so... it's not important.
2010 or 2011. It was in 2011 that the fourth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie, On Stranger Tides, came out. Some time prior to that, I recall reading a little thing in a magazine about the movie, which mentioned a mermaid played by an actress named Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey. At the time, I hadn't yet seen any of the movies in the series, (and still hadn't seen the third or fourth movies until sometime after I started this page). But I had already written a scene in my book with three mermaids, one of whom was named Astrid. So I sort of worried people might think I named her after the actress, whom I'd never even heard of when I wrote the scene. When I finally saw the movie in 2014, there was another aspect to the mermaids that I worried people might think had inspired an aspect of a book I haven't even started yet, but have been planning for several years. (Not... that the aspect I have in mind is really like the aspect to the mermaids in this movie, but... a similarity could potentially be perceived. I suppose.) But I don't want to spoil that part of my book....
February 29, 2012. It was probably about a year earlier that I'd come up with the idea that one of my characters, whose name is Cameron, had been born on "Quad Day," which is the Landian equivalent of "Leap Day." And then, months after editing that idea into a scene in a chapter I'd originally written quite a few years earlier, I was watching an episode of Modern Family, in which I learned that a character named Cameron had been born on Leap Day. It wouldn't bother me so much if both characters weren't named Cameron (and in fact, my Cameron's original name was "Cam," which also happens to be what the Modern Family character is most often called), because it's not an unheard of plot point... but they are. They have the same birthday and the same name.
November, 2012. FarmVille introduced a crop called emerald melons. I had created emerald melons as one of the fruits on the Land more than a year earlier. It's not really a plot point, but still, I wouldn't want anyone thinking I'd stolen the idea. (There may well be other coincidences of this nature, plants or animals or whatever that I made up for the planet in my books, which other books or websites or whatever may have previously made up without my knowledge, or later made up. And such things could even exist in real life without my knowledge.)
February 9, 2014. I watched Star Trek Into Darkness on DVD (it had come out nearly a year earlier). There was a scene in which Carol tries to stop Admiral Marcus from destroying the Enterprise by letting him know she's on the ship. And, you know, uh... she's his daughter. There's a scene in my book (which I hadn't written yet when I saw the movie, but which I'd been planning for quite awhile), in which a ship my own character, Emma, is aboard, is attacked by an enemy ship (or actually an enemy fleet) commanded by her father. And she stops the attack by revealing to him that she's on the ship. The big difference here (other than it taking place at sea rather than in space) is that Emma's father reacts differently than Carol's did. But still, pretty damn exactly-the-same premise.
February 20, 2014. I watched the third episode of Caper, which featured a show-within-the-show called "Amper & Sand." This reminds me a lot of a business in my book called Ampersand & Ampersand, which is run by a father and son named Relic and Joe Ampersand. I made that up probably right around the time I first started planning my book, in 1997.
July 2, 2016. I watched the movie Jumanji for the second time ever. It came out in 1995, and I'm sure I first saw it sometime in the 90s, but I can't recall whether I did so before or after I started my book. But it was while watching the movie again in 2016 that I realized the board game in the movie has some similar properties to a game called Surreal, which exists on the planet in my book (though that game doesn't involve a board, or anything). Anyway, whether or not I saw the movie before I came up with "Surreal," I'm fairly certain the game in my book was in no way inspired by Jumanji. But of course, now I'm worried some people could think it was.
March 3, 2018. Donald Trump made a comment about America possibly having a "president for life" someday. In my book, Demos Royal wants to become "king for life." I know the idea of a President for Life is not a new concept. And certainly there were conservative conspiracy theorists who thought Barack Obama wanted to do that (and even after he left office, they moved on to conspiracy theories about an alleged deep state). Still, Trump's comment reminded me of this plot point in my book (which was not inspired by anyone in real life).
June 2019. I started reading Joseph Heller's 1961 novel Catch-22 for the first time. It includes a character named Major Major Major, whose rank in the Air Force is Major, so he's actually referred to as Major Major Major Major. When I first started planning my book in 1997, one of the characters I created was James Major, who was for a short time a Major in the Army (during the prequel, not the first book in my planned series). When I learned of the existence of Heller's "Major Major," I worried some people might think I was copying his joke with my own "Major Major," but I had no idea his character existed when I created mine.
And that's all I can think of at the moment, but I'm pretty sure there've been others.