Friday, February 26, 2010

Putting a Spin on Things

Have you ever heard "Your story's just not original enough?" But, what is original these days?

Take me, I'm trying to write a vampire novel (and if that's not bad enough it's set in a schooling environment). Now, as soon as I mention vampire I get the whole "oh, like Twilight" or "not another one". When I put the two words together (Vampire School) the comments get even less favourable.

So, I know the importance of trying to think of original ideas (in my defense I've been working on Haven for over 5 years to get every aspect right).

I have absorbed everything to do with vampires and, believe it or not, most of the stories I've read have a spin on the legends from vampires that glitter in the sun to vampires that have come out in the open to vampires being the main creature on the earth with humans being rare and hunted. All of these stories have something that makes them different.

 
Now, this is a vampire I can sink my teeth into.
Yummy. (for anyone not knowing, this is Damon from
Vampire Diaries.)

What makes mine different? I've got mortal vampires. My werewolves look like giant porcupines with dragon nozzles. My witches suck the life energy from living things. And other things, but that's best to be kept a secret in fear of ruining the story.

P.S. I think I have to change the title of Haven. I just found out that there's a book called Haven set to be released in 2011 (damn it)... so still trying to figure out what I'm going to call it.

How do you handle originality and have you ever tried to put a spin on an overused concept?

8 comments:

Catana/Sylvie Mac said...

I don't think anyone can get away from the problem of originality. An original spin is often the best we can hope for. I'm been posting a master/slave story on Live Journal and just had the three most frequently used plots presented to me in the hope that I'm not using any of them. I certainly hope not! At least it's good to know that there are certain topics, like vampires, that people always want to read. And knowing that there's so much of it out there already makes it more of a challenge.

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

Before I comment I just have to say NICE PIC OF DAMON! He is my favorite vamp on tv right now!

I'm happy Twilight has brought out the vamp movies and books because it has always been my favorite, werewolves are next with witches and shape shifters trailing. The negative side it seems to bring out negative comments if your writing about it. My story has vamps in it too. BUT--if I like a story I try to find one with similar aspects--call me crazy. You got to write what you like! I ignore the comments and insist my vamps don't sparkle and have sharp fangs lol!

Lisa and Laura said...

Ugh...this is a tough question and one we worry about all the time. We check Publisher's Marketplace with beating hearts fearing our next big idea will be announced in some sort of major deal or something (unlikely, but wouldn't that be the worst?) Anyways, I guess there are only like 7 original ideas and the rest are spin-offs. I say make your spin-off the best it can possibly be and then hope (or edit until somebody falls in love). That's all we can do, right?

Angela said...

I really thought I had the most original idea ever when I began my novel, which includes "Watchers". I was wrong. Just from writing forums alone I've seen several people mention their novels involves Watchers, and after writing mine I found not only that there have been several books with Watcher characters, but there have been several with parallel worlds that have the same name as mine.

It's the combination of ideas that make a novel original. It is VERY rare you come up with a component in your novel that is totally unique (meaning has never been used in any common way). But the combination--that's the ticket :).

Elana Johnson said...

Oooh, he's beautiful. I think originality comes as much in the writing as it does in the premise. So never give up!

ali said...

SUCH a good question! I really do believe the saying that there are no new stories, just new takes on that same story. Ha! I just totally botched that, but you know what I mean, right?

So, yeah. It's something we all struggle with. But if we're AWARE, and don't keep our heads in the sand, I think we'll do just fine.

Suzette Saxton said...

Best of luck with a title. And I did not know who the vamp was as I don't watch tv - so thanks for sharing!

cipherqueen said...

You know, when I first started writing I actually tried to FOLLOW the trends because I thought that made people wnat to read my book. But no matter what I did, the story always deviated from my intentions... so I'm forced to put a spin on things by nature. I adhor monotony. (Well, except in chocolate. ;P)

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