I have written action stories since I was a kid. Back in grade school, most of the stuff was what could fairly be termed fan-fic (I wrote a lot of G.I. JOE adventures) I also began my own "secondary world" epic fantasy. I'd like to think that for someone supremely influenced by J.R.R.Tolkien, I had some pretty cool original ideas.
We all have our influences, the same as anyone else. I have read Scott Oden, Lion of Cairo, say that his three biggest influences are Tolkien, Robert E. Howard and Karl Edward Wagner.
Guess what = they are mine too.
But is there any real danger of us writing close to the same thing? No, there is isn't.
Because we all draw on our own experiences in life, our own worldview, our own strengths and weakness's. We are all different.
If any two of us set out to write the exact same story it would still turn out quite different and likewise appeal to different readers. I read a recent post of Dean Wesley Smith where he said, (and I'm somewhat paraphrasin') - "We are not in competition with other writers-but with ourselves to write better stories."
I like that a lot-it makes me not compare myself to my influences and the seeming impossibility of catching up, recreating the foundation they have already lain, but of just learning what I can from them and improving my own craft and writing the best stories I possibly can.
Lately, I am stressing/working on my sequel to Heroes of the Fallen - Blood of Our Fathers and working at making it the best book it can possibly be-that means writing the most awesome book that I would want to read again and again.
On other fronts I have a lot of speculative short stories getting published this year - 9 so far are forthcoming and I have another 4 submitted already, saturating the spec-fic market just like my writing role model, Robert E. Howard.
I'm kinda treating the present day anthology and e-markets like the depression era markets of the pulps. Gotta get my own weird brand out there and be read.
Stay hungry my friends.