Alex J. Cavanaugh‘s Insecure Writer’s Support Group, held monthly. Click on the image above to participate.
You know the saying, there’s no new original idea out there? Well that plays on my thoughts a lot, especially when I’m plotting new story ideas. I’ve put some novel ideas aside, worried they’re too similar to other works out there. And I find myself going in circles as I try to avoid doing what’s been done before – hence trying to be original. But is that even possible? I mean everything already exists in someone else’s story – ideas, plots, characters. After all, aren’t the main characters in Harry Potter and Star Wars pretty similar?
And I tell myself that I’m being silly because it’s not about the core idea, but about the spin I place on the story. But I still worry.
A publisher rejected one of my manuscripts because apparently the plot was too similar to another book in the market, hence my paranoia. Don’t get me wrong, that didn’t stop me from sending it elsewhere, and I have my fingers crossed it finds a home soon.
As a result, I’ve been playing with a number of ideas in my stories, such as mythological creatures – twisting them by either adding new attributes or behaviors, then dropping them in unexpected worlds, or sprinkling elements of other genres, such as gaslamp into a world where technology shouldn’t exist, or adding new perspectives, etc. And I love the possibilities this creates.
There are thousands of romance books out there, for example, and none of them will be exactly similar to another, yet they there are so many out there selling. And I guess, it’s about the ability of a writer to turn an old theme into something both unique and their own. It’s about being creative. And I’m trying to embrace this with my story ideas, making them my own:)
And a special thanks goes out to Michael Offutt for reminding me that The Insecure Writer’s Support Group post was this week, considering last month I did two, believing it was weekly. Learnt that one quickly!