What's On My Mind

The Secret of Originality

Creating a novel requires a lot of thought. Actually, maybe that’s a bit of an understatement. You have to know the characters better than your best friends, your settings better than your home, and etc, etc. Well, you get the point. Novels take a lot of work.

If you’re like me, even brainstorming smaller chunks of a book take a while. Or should I say, a long, long while. By the time you find that great idea of yours, a lot of time spent researching, plotting, and brainstorming time has been already used up. You’ve dedicated a lot of energy into this idea and you wish to see it through.

What do you do then, when you realize your idea isn’t totally, well, yours?

You turn on the TV. You pick up a book. You listen to a song. You go to a movie. And there it is. Your supposed “best idea ever” sitting right there in front of you. Were you inspired off of these ideas? Maybe. Did you think this idea was totally unique? Totally. Is your book turning out to be an exact carbon copy of a movie that was already created? Yes.

That realization is very frustrating.

Photo credit: piglove.wordpress.com
Photo credit: piglove.wordpress.com

It just screams “I-can’t-believe-my-subconcious-was-secretly-telling-me-the-plot-of-this-other-book” and perhaps even the “wait-I-thought-I-was-genius-but-I-guess-not”. It’s the feeling that makes you want to *face palm* yourself or tear apart your notebook and computer.

Well, don’t worry. You won’t have to totally trash your 20,000 word manuscript. (And just don’t, even if you feel like it.)

The worst thing you can do for yourself while trying to get into that “creative mode” as a writer is to compare yourself to other books. Please. Do yourself a favor. Don’t worry if your ideas are similar and/or related. Your idea will grow more complex and develop as you go on, leaving it way different from where you started. In other words, keep at it. You can always add memorable characters, settings, and twists that not only make your book unique, but worth reading.

Why?

Quite frankly, no idea out there is totally new and original.

This isn’t a bad thing either. Some ideas throughout history are used over and over and over and over. Yet, people don’t seem to tire of them. Take the Hero’s Journey for example. This structure is used thousands of times throughout classic literature, movies, sci-fi, you name it. The Dystopia is extremely popular and incorporated in Young Adult books everywhere today. Even before the Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451 was already out making a name for itself.

Every book has to start somewhere. Who knows? The idea you come up with today in your first draft, whether it be a remake of another book or seem completely far-fetched, may turn out to be completely different in your final draft.

So who cares if it’s been done before. It hasn’t been done by you.

As you might have noticed, I changed my theme a little (again). I’m totally loving it right now and can’t wait to get some more featured posts up. Good luck out there. Hope this little post helped a little 🙂 Tune in next week for some more TeenWritr stuff… As always, thanks for reading. ~Corine

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