Monday, November 16, 2009

Aiming for Uniqueness

Have you ever had one of those lightning-blot-light-bulb-stabbed-with-something-electrical moments where you just think: "OH MY GOSH - this book idea would make me the next Stephen King and would be the biggest major motion picture opening since Spider-Man?"

So, you excitedly sit down and pump out 47 pages of a novel that is so enthralling, so incredible, so completely and utterly unique that you can hardly breathe as you're writing.

Then your husband gets home. And reads the opening chapters. And says, "Hey, didn't we see a movie with Harrison Ford that was kind of like this?" Then he leaves to go change out of work clothes and you fight tears as you delete all 47 pages realizing that yes, it does sound an awfully lot like The Fugitive.

Ever had that happen to you?

Trying to find a unique twist on things has to be one of the hardest jobs as a writer. When I was first starting out, there was a whole huge news story about a girl who copied pages from another book and then published her copy of it. She got in major trouble.

And I didn't sleep for about a week. What if Miss Match was exactly like something I'd read or seen years ago and didn't remember reading or seeing? What if I was just a big copycat?

If you've had this fear too, fear not. At a writing conference, one of the speakers gave an entire room full of fiction writers a basic plot and told them to come up with a story. In an entire room full of people who do this or want to do this for a living, you'd think there would be at least one duplicate story, right?

Wrong. Every one was different. Every person took the same plot and came up with a totally different story.

And I started breathing a little easier. Unless you are actually copying something straight from the pages of another book, the odds of you writing the same story are very small.

Still, that doesn't mean that things don't sound scarily similar. Noticed the huge variety we now have of vampire-themed books?

Mm-hmm. Aim higher. Be unique! Find a story that resonates with you, not with Stephanie Meyer. Did something happen in your childhood that would make a great teen story? How about something that happened in your grandmother's childhood? Explore different times, explore different genres.

And let us know what's happening! We ScribbleChicks love to celebrate and we definitely love celebrating writing success! :)

1 comment:

  1. I loved this post today, Erynn. :o) One of my favorite things to do at my Thursday night writer's group is writing prompts. It always AMAZES me how we all can take the same exact kernal of an idea, and each one turns out with it's own completely unique spin. It delights my spirit to see how the creative mind works.