If there is one caveat to being an artist, it is that you are your own worst critic. And not only that, but sometimes the reason why someone else is coming down on you is because they hate their own work, and have no idea how to fix it due to lack of introspection and cannot get out of their rut. Hell, misery loves company, right? Might as well bring down the whole ship now and watch it burn…
But still, you really need to stop asking yourself if it has already been done. Formulas work, and companies strive on them. These are the same companies that will publish your work.
There is a certain video game critic out there named Anita Sarkeesian. She brings up very good points on ideas like “Mario saving the princess over and over again” as being a formulaic theme and basically needs to end. Granted, Ms. Sarkeesian’s rants are mainly on the terrible portrayal of women in videos games, in which her arguments are needed and well received. But she is an extremist, believing that the cycle should end and never be visited ever again. She thinks in absolutes, and when it comes to artistic motivations, one should be able to have wiggle room.
Plus, she disables her comments on anything posted. How does that stimulate thought?
Does the audience really believe that every writer needs to re-invent the wheel? Is this attitude so present in those that are bored with everything needed to destroy one’s confidence in creating something and thus preventing them from even pursuing it to begin with?
Why? Simple. As your work matures from initial release, the less likely new blood (tweens) will pick it up and digest because it isn’t new. It won’t be forgotten, just the opposite; once something new comes along that basically “has been done” and they digest it, then they will be hungry for more in which they will search for your already established work. Avid readers do not simply just pick up a book and walk away, they search for more. This can correspond to anything which can then become into what is known as a cult classic once it has a following.
Here’s another jaunting thought: if all artists, writers, musicians, and developers stopped doing anything because it was “already done,” then the niche in which each market pertains to would just lose business. Readers want more, gamers want more, musicians WANT MOAR!
I see a lot of clones out there, and I never tire of them. Each individual puts a unique twist to events, and when I read, listen or watch, I never really get bored. Leave something else to the snobs who need more to boost their outlook on things…