The story is not "pirates who customize their ships", the story goes around the goal the characters have. With this sayed a story could be: find love, defeat evil, and so on. What you are suggesting are elements for the story, but in its root the story is the same, over and over again. And as I said we just made re-interpretations of the story.
You could say "hey why not make a harem story where the protagonist repeat the same day over and over again and he has to date different girls for each day" but is still not a story, and in its root it will have already done, because at the end the character need a goal and its goal will determinate the root of the story (finding love, defeat a curse, etc).
Clock, you're wrong. That isn't a different interpretation. A different interpretation would be taking Romeo & Juliet and setting in in Harlem or taking Hamlet and doing it with lions. By your logic, any story with a pirate is the same. Exactly the same. This is so incredibly wrong I'm not sure how you can anywhere remotely close to that conclusion.
The characters, setting, and genre make the story, not the root(s). You're right about "a harem story where the protagonist repeat the same day over and over again and he has to date different girls for each day" not being a story, but it's very damn close.
Ok, apparently I haven't been clear about this. Pirates are not a story plot, is just the context on the story. A plot is related to a goal or a achievement that the character or character pursuit. Some authors claim there are 20 basic plots (quest, adventure, pursuit, rescue, escape, revenge, riddle, rivalry, underdog, temptation, metamorphosis, transformation, maturation, love, forbidden love, sacrifice, discovery, wretched excess, ascension, and decision) and in a story you can find more than one plot, this according in how is structured (according other authors there is also a limited combination of structures).
I will take the example of pirates who focus on upgrading their equipment, what they do (upgrade equipment) is not a plot, but it can be a plot if the goal is to upgrade equipment for a objective (or a upgrade as a objective). The idea could work for a video game, but not for a story, because in the story the characters must have goals that affect and contribute the structure of the story.
And when I say roots, its because, as pointed before, there is a limited amount of subjects a story can take, and even more, some other people claim that every story in the world has the same root and point to the same universal true. We can't create anything new, we take things that are already done and we change them, we make re-interpretations of what we know.
I still disagree. Sorry, but over generalizing, and saying every story with similar themes is just a re-hash, is silly.
This 'pirate ship customization' setting you could say is similar in themes to say, any plot involving giant robots, racing cars, or hell, even football teams... But it's not like somebody just sits down and says "Right, I'm going to make a racing car plot like Initial D, only with pirate ships!" Only rubbish marketing types and executive meddlers think like that, because they are trying to appeal to a certain audience by abusing the fanbases of per-existing series.
Coincidental similarities in plots due to humans naturally liking similar themes doesn't just automatically make that plot point an unoriginal re-hash. To say that both the good, the bad and the ugly and cowboy bebop possess zero original ideas between them is ridiculous. Making something original is about the connections you make, the overall picture you build, not the individual pieces or generalized concepts.
I'll just leave this here:
The full thing (read it; it's useful): http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.ph...evenBasicPlotsOvercoming the Monster
Hero learns of a great evil threatening the land, and sets out to destroy it.
Rags to Riches
Surrounded by dark forces who suppress and ridicule him, the Hero slowly blossoms into a mature figure who ultimately gets riches, a kingdom, and the perfect mate.
Hero learns of a great MacGuffin that he desperately wants to find, and sets out to find it, often with companions.
Voyage and Return
Hero heads off into a magic land with crazy rules, ultimately triumphs over the madness and returns home far more mature than when he set out.
Hero and Heroine are destined to get together, but a dark force is preventing them from doing so; the story conspires to make the dark force repent, and suddenly the Hero and Heroine are free to get together. This is part of a cascade of effects that shows everyone for who they really are, and allows two or more other relationships to correctly form.
The flip side of the Overcoming the Monster plot. Our protagonist character is the Villain, but we get to watch him slowly spiral down into darkness before he's finally defeated, freeing the land from his evil influence.
As with the Tragedy plot, but our protagonist manages to realize his error before it's too late, and does a Heel Face Turn to avoid inevitable defeat.
@ Gabrieldude, Just make a story that you enjoy making so much, Don't worry too much about similarity and so forth as long as you know you didn't exactly copy any story yourself, It's one of the main moral lessons of those mangaka life based stories(I've been reading too much of those manga lately lol, and now my main goal is why I want to be one is because I want a cute assistant from what I read in mangaka asistant san), Don't think too much about appealing someone with it, People with a story that suck so much has their manga ranking so high if you notice and not only that there are tons of similar stories out there but still famous.
TC, if you're looking to make a story creative, you need to ask yourself not "what" but "how?" When we read a standard fantasy novel or a Disney movie, we usually know the good guy will win over evil. So why do we watch? To see how he/she accomplishes this! It's like the saying goes: "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey to get there."