... as Oliver Cromwell said to King Charles.
One of the things that I've noticed new and inexperienced writers suffer from is paranoia. They are almost all worried that their idea is going to be stolen, or their hot new script is going to be ripped off in some way. When I've been approached by friends of friends who want to write and send me scripts, they are often vary cagey, or explain that they have copyrighted them somehow, so there's no use me trying any funny business, or passing it to someone who might.
Now, one would have thought that a new writer would want his script read by as many people as possible. But the young writer is inexperienced - and with his new script, truly believes he/she has written something that has never been written before, or observed something and captured it in script-form for the first time.
Well, any seasoned writer would at least agree with the verse in the Bible which says "There is nothing new under the sun." We've all be there. We've mentioned our hot new show to someone, explained the premise and been told 'Oh, like that American show from the 1970s' or 'Like that play by Alan Bennett?' etc etc.
It's all been done before. All of it. From every angle. The only question a writer should really ask of himself is 'Can I write?' That precious first script is the beginnings of an answer.
Writing is not beavering for hours in order to crack a new formula, whereafter it writes itself. It's about making the old old stories fresh, new, current and original, when they are anything but that.
I mention this because Rob Long just did an excellent bit on idea theft that you can find here. Go and listen now.