Monday, February 12, 2018

Striving For Originality


We strive as writers to come up with original stories and to stand out from the crowd. For many of us, finding that plot seems impossible. We look at the millions of books out there and try to create a new plot, but it seems like everything has been done before.

And do you know what? It has.

Now before you bang your head on the desk, know you shouldn't worry about all those other books. Nope, not at all. When you tell your story, it won't be like anything else out there.

Plot and story aren't the same thing. You'll find the same basic plots in every book, but the telling of that story will always be different. It will have the author's quirks, experience, and imagination which is a unique blend to make the story unlike any other.

Not convinced? Think of it like this: imagine you're visiting a class of students. They're sitting on the rug listening to the teacher read to them. Let's use Hansel and Gretel as an example.


After the teacher is finished, ask each child to tell the story in their own way. They can tell it however they want to as long as it has the same plot. It doesn't even have to have the same ending. No story is going to be alike. Not one. Jean tells the story with both characters as girls. Bert decides to have a dragon instead of a witch. Arthur has the story take place in a city instead of a forest. They're all using the basic plot of Hansel and Gretel, but each story is different.

If you're still uncertain, here are three tips to help you:

1. Write about something you'd like to read. If that's vampires, don't listen to the people who say the market is too saturated. You need to write something you're passionate about. It will show in your writing.

2. Be true to youself and your story. Don't add something because you think readers might want it or that it fits a certain trope.

3. Connect with your characters emotionally. Make yourself vulnerable and put all those emotions onto paper or the screen. If you're feeling the happiness, sadness, and fear, then so will your readers.

Remember, your story has never been seen before. It is original.

17 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

To be an original writer is very hard, my poems have all originated from life's experiences.
Enjoyed the post.

Yvonne.

Pat Hatt said...

Not adding a certain trope just for readers is a win indeed. Very true, everything has been done in one form or another, have to make it our own.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Great points, Christine! We each bring our own unique views and experience to the table which mean we'll all tell a story differently.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great post, Christine. It's good to remember how we are all unique and this can help us craft our own stories.

Heather M. Gardner said...

It's so important to enjoy writing. It will show in the final product.
:)
Great post!
Heather

cleemckenzie said...

Yes. Absolutely. Our minds are unique filters of the human experience. Well said.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There are many twists on plots - as many as there are people.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Christine - great post ... and so true - our passion will shine through - yours does ... just keep going and write - cheers Hilary

Roland Clarke said...

Well written, Christine. Shakespeare borrowed from the Greeks and novelists have redone Shakespeare. Myths and sagas evolved as storytellers retold them. We are creators with a thousand faces.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

An excellent example of same theme but way different stories. I write a lot of romance and all romance novels have the same theme.

Juneta Key said...

Enjoyed the post. Love the examples.

Adrienne Reiter said...

Great post! All good points, but I think writing what you like to read is the most important. You've got to know your audience. However, being true to yourself is so important.

Lynn Newman said...

Hi Christine! Thanks for the post. Something I think we need to remind ourselves of frequently.

Fundy Blue said...

An excellent post, Christine! These three points should be the North Star guiding your writing. As a retired teacher, I loved the photo and the lesson outlined. Some days I really miss my kiddos! Have a good one!

Julia Thorley said...

Good post. There's nothing new under the sun.

Spacer Guy said...

I entirely agree and it never hurts to show our humanity. We're only human and make mistakes, no-ones perfect. Many writers start off with pseudonyms and eventually reveal their true identity... while others dive right in...

Tyrean Martinson said...

I love your example and tips!
Of course, now I'm imagining Hansel and Gretal as a girl and her best AI friend who encounter a mechanized dragon in a big city.