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I hate it when it feels like I stole an idea, even when I know I didn't.

I watched The Equalizer last week.  Pretty entertaining - one of the best "bad-ass slaughters dozens of one-dimensional bad guys" movies I've seen in awhile.  There's a fantastic sequence toward the end where Denzel Washington has to fight a bunch of highly-trained Russian special ops types in a Home Depot knock-off ("Home Mart"), and he takes them out one-by-one using jury-rigged traps and makeshift weapons.

There's just one problem... I tried to do something like that in the book I'm writing right now.

Part of me understands that this is not a reason to get flustered.  On a macro-level view of things, nobody's going to care - it's not like people watched The Avengers and said, "Hey, you can't have an action scene in New York City!  They already did that in Every Movie Ever Made!"  Settings and motifs, even really specific ones, are used over and over again in art without anybody raising a fuss about copyright infringement.

And even when some jerk does get snotty and says, "Oh, there's nothing new under the sun, all art is creatively bankrupt, my dad never hugged me and now I can't enjoy things," they're always in the minority.  People as a whole just plain do not care when a new story has vague (or even crystal clear) similarities to an old one.

On top of that, the action scenes aren't even all that similar.  The protagonist in my book isn't skilled in covert situations.  She relies on grit, speed, and luck to get her through violent confrontations, whereas Denzel uses a mix of sneaky military tactics and clever screenwriting.  The tone is totally different - my protagonist isn't a badass; she's hanging from the seat of her pants the whole time.

But despite all this, I'm left wondering if I need to totally rewrite that sequence of my book.  I can't shake the feeling that somebody will read it and go, "I guess it's okay, except for the part where he just did a really crappy rip-off of The Equalizer.  What a chump!"

Plus, the scene in The Equalizer was way more clever in terms of how the bad guys are killed.  Denzel sets up this nifty trap using a barbed wire noose and a pulley that's hooked up to a pallet of cement as a counterweight.  That's nuts!  You know what the most clever thing my protagonist does in her hardware store sequence?  She drapes a hat and apron on a rake to make it look like a person.  It's like comparing John McClane versus Bugs Bunny.

I hate that I feel like this now.  It's only been like a month and a half since I wrote my hardware store sequence, and I remember being so proud and excited about it at the time.  Now I've totally lost confidence.  I can only hope that when I go back to re-read the whole book later on, I'll have a new perspective on things and I can work past all my misgivings.

Sigh... lucky thing I didn't watch a movie about people selling souls on the black market.  Then I'd really be in trouble.