I've been told plenty of times that nothing is original anymore. Well, they are sort of right. Most things have been done these days, but anything old can be given a fresh light with how the writer twists the idea.
I write paranormal and horror, so I always look for ways to describe old creatures or legends in new ways. In my current WiP I even have a unicorn bent on killing my main character (that's mainly because my brother dared me to put a unicorn into the story). Well, my twist on the old unicorn (apart from it being a savage beast), is that it's actually a were-creature. Yep, it's a man who can transform into a unicorn.
How does one take an old creature/theme and give it a new twist? These are some ways I think up my twists:
All themes, legends and creatures have many differing origin points. A good way to find an original twist is to look at the different elements in each of the points and mix-and-mash until you have something different and unique.
- Mix the old with the new
All the creatures used came from old tales. So, the trick is to see where they fit into the modern society. Add some technology, modern dress and emotions, and you've got a different creature.
- Move in the complete opposite direction
Have a look at what the standard creature or legend looks like and do something or add something totally different and unexpected (take my unicorn for example).
- Insanity does help
Well, as a writer, it's okay to be a little bit crazy. I always love thinking up new and unexpected ideas for my stories that (I hope) haven't been done before. But, when I'm in writer mode, I can become a bit obssessed and think about these things constantly. Yes, even when I'm at work I'm thinking about the best way to kill a water elemental in the bathroom (that was a messy deal) or kill a unicorn. Yes, I hear voices and I'm proud of that.