belonging or pertaining to the origin or beginning of something.
new; fresh; inventive; novel.
arising or proceeding independently of anything else.
capable of thinking or acting in an independent, creative, or individual manner.
created, undertaken, or presented for the first time.
We're gonna be honest here, you guys. As touchy as the subject may be - it needs to be brought up, and [even more], it needs
to be discussed. What am I talking about, you may ask?
The myth about being ORIGINAL.
Yes - it is a myth; a myth created to either heighten your personal standards of writing, or drive you mad and hinder you from ever wanting to create again. Or, as in my case - come across several stories with round-about the same base plot or universe as mine - and leave me saying...
... yeah, nothing
After the honesty - it's time to get relatable
It's soul-crushing, right? That moment when you realize that an idea or storyline that you've been feeding and nurturing for hours, days, weeks, even years
has a slightly
alike duplicate somewhere in in the universe that steals your proud admission of originality
Out of no where, you're overcome with all of these negative thoughts about your work that previously you didn't second guess for a moment. You start thinking:
"OMG - their character is exactly like mine! Now I can't use him."
Damn it! That storyline is almost like mine! I have to start all over.
... or my personal
"That's basically what my book is about. GOD. I'm so not original."
... but it's just not true.
Just because your character has the same back story as someone else's - or your race has the same origin as another's does not mean that you can't be original. But do not worry - despite what cynics & jealous tarts might tell you...
- originality is not dead.
Consider this - J.R.R. Tolkien
. Please don't kill me.
For goodness sake - do you really think the man created elves? Do you think that he created dwarves and dragons and their mutual lust for gold? READ BEOWULF, WHY DON'T YA?
No... even the masters of literature themselves are not completely
original. But if anyone asked you how original was Lord of the Rings
would you not say -
"Original!? It's a work of pure genius!"
So - the next time you find yourself perusing your vampire novel and you find that it sounds tragically reminiscent of Twilight... don't worry -
- there's plenty of ways to be more original than that.
Just in case Castle's pep talk wasn't enough to get you out of your funk, consider this:
When working on or beginning a new story - ask yourself a series of questions. Delve just a little deeper into your characters, the plot, even the places your journey will take you. Through a brief quiz and a little brainstorming - a cliché storyline can be the next bestseller that raves ORIGINALITY
. Some of the following questions were taken from questionnaires here and here.
Ask yourself this…
1. Who is the main character?
What kind of distinguishing facial features does your character have?
Does your character have a birthmark? Where is it? What about scars? How did he or she get them?
Questioning the appearance of your main character is always a great start to be original. For example, what makes protagonists memorable & distinguisable from others? Consider Harry Potter. The boy has messy black hair, large, black-rimmed glasses, and a lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. Simple yet entirely memorable.
2. Who or what is the antagonist?
(The person, group, or situation causing trouble for the main character.)
What is your character’s biggest fear? Who have they told this to? Who would they never tell this to? Why?
When you question your main characters fears & secrets an antagonist begins to form. However original you character's life, the more original the characters and situations around them become.
3. Who are the other people in the story?
Who are your character’s friends and family? Who do they surround themselves with? Who are the people your character is closest to? Who do they wish they were closest to?
Where was your character born? Where have they lived since then? Where do they call home?
When has your character been in love? Had a broken heart?
It is important to consider the characters that surround your main protagonist. The more questions you ask about them, the more original they become. Once again, consider Harry Potter. On the one hand, you have a very brave, intelligent young woman who is good in school and is the voice of reason. On the other you have a character who hardly has a voice at all. He usually never succeeds in anything, and is normally a coward.
4. What does the main character want? (What’s his or her problem, goal, greatest need.)
Why is this important? (It should be vital.)
5. How does the antagonist prevent the main character from reaching his/her goal?
What does the main character do about this?
6. What are the results?
(Things should get worse, the problem more difficult.)
What crisis finally results?
7. What is the climax?
(Moment of decision.)
8. What is the resolution? Is the goal accomplished, or abandoned in favor of something else, or lost?
9. What is the theme?This will possibly be the make-it or break-it question. It determines your passion for the piece as well as the audience you will attract. Consider finding inspiration in the things you love - art, architecture, movies, books, history, etc.
Every month at the end of this article there shall be a mini-contest you may participate in. Every month it may be something completely different, but anyone and everyone can participate in the hopes of winning.
January 2013's Prize
to two random winners
- OfOneSoul How To Enter
Answer one, or all, or any number of the questions above in a comment on this journal. Work on your story in the comments of this article, and you will be randomly entered into a drawing that will be announced upon the publication of next month's article, Monday, February 25th, 2013.
I'm looking for your suggestions!
Feel free to post some ideas for the next articles theme. Do you have a question about character development? Would you like an interview with one of your favorite writers? Would you like me to dissect one of your pieces and use your work as an example of what and what-not-to-do?
Feel free to OfOneSoul
with your article suggestions or comment here in this journal...
- and feel free to ask me questions! After all... OfOneSoul