Friday, August 6, 2010

Your take on Originality

Well, yesterday I gave the question of whether you write for the audience or yourself... today is along similar lines. It's already been established (I hope) that to be a writer you've got to read and write as much as possible. That being said, how can you make sure what you write is your own idea, or even original?

I've been working on Haven for way too long, and every now and again a novel with similar elements crop up (like one called 'Haven' which is being released next year... Now I know I've got to change the title). I guess that everything's been done and nothing's original anymore, but how come people are still devouring novel after novel? I believe it's the spin they put on the familiar.

Here's a quick (and just totally made up) formula for creating an intriguing story:
  1. Start with the familiar - the audience has to be able to relate, and having something that they know will help hook them.
  2. Add a spin - something that's never been done, even if the character just has a quirk that will make them stand out from every other character out there.
  3. Populate the world - more of the familiar, make the characters stand out and break from stereotypes (I hate stereotypical characters, but love the quirky ones)
  4. Make them suffer - hey, this is where the interest lies (I often think my characters are going to mutiny against me because of the amount of pain I put them through)... it's all worth it
  5. Enjoy what you write... you can't write a good story if you don't like it.
I believe that originality lies in the spin, the one thing that differentiates the story/novel from all the others on the same topic. But, that just makes the story even better reading something from an angle that I had never thought about before.

Do you think there's anything original these days?

4 comments:

Catherine A. Winn said...

I agree completely about the spin. If it's different and attention grabbing it makes a story to be remembered.

Deb Salisbury said...

I think number five will make the story more original. If you love the story, your passion will show up in every word, and that's what will create originality. :D

Nicole MacDonald said...

I made mine original by basing it all around my friends and family - I love it!

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Very true. I've had this talk with my CP's time and time again because we read so much that we run into these books that make us cringe because the idea gets SUPER close to our own that we thought we had a good spin on. Luckily, we all do have a good spin and no ones stepping on toes. It's so important to read the market and genre your writing.
The list is great and I am working on making my characters suffer. I've gotten better at it but still needs work. Great post! AND have a great weekend!

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