“I had never heard of that book or that author until my book was turned in. At that point, it was mentioned to me, and I asked my editor if I should read it. He said: ‘No, I don’t want that world in your head. Just continue with what you’re doing.’”
- Suzanne Collins on “Battle Royale”
In Psychology creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining others, and us.
Psychology has many psychometric tests to gauge the level of creativity in person ex. Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, Divergent Thinking, NEO PI (those scoring high on openness to experience) etc.
Research has also shown that those high on creativity need not have IQ and also creativity is not confined to any race, community, gender etc.
So can two people come up with same idea, while not being aware it? This has created lot of controversy where some authors have been charged of plagiarism, while authors maintain that the idea was original, similarity is just a coincidence.
In India two authors, Dr. Sumati Kshetramade and Sudha Murthy wrote novels with same theme ( leucoderma) with same title ( Mahashweta). Dr. Kshetramade was first to write novel in Marathi, then after few decades, Sudha Murthy wrote her novel in Kannada. Mrs. Murthy was not aware of Marathi novel till she finished her Kannada novel. So two creative writers can think on similar lines.
But in U.S there was lot of controversy over Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy. Many accused her of plagiarism.
Japanese author Koushun Takami wrote novel called Battle Royale in 1996, about junior high school students who are forced to fight each other to the death in a program run by the authoritarian Japanese government.
Suzanne Collins wrote first novel – The Hunger Games-of trilogy in 2008.
The Hunger Games is about nation called Penam, which consists of the wealthy Capitol and twelve districts in varying states of poverty. Every year, children are chosen form these twelve districts to participate in a compulsory annual televised death match called Hunger Games, in order to entertain residents of Capitol.
While many accused Suzanne of copying theme from Battle Royale, Suzanne claimed that she had not heard of Koushun Takami and Battle Royale till she finished her novel. Her inspiration came from Greek mythology (Theseus and Minotaur) and Roman gladiator’s games.
Just because theme is similar does not necessarily mean that there is plagiarism, two creative people can come up with similar ideas.