Monday, August 30, 2010

The entire season is resting on Rowengartner's shoulders!

An extra 50 bonus points to whoever can name that movie!

My husband and I have recently gotten into this kick where we've been Netflixing (if you can verb that word) a lot of the old sports movies we watched as little kids. The Mighty Ducks, Little Big League, The Big Green, Angels in the Outfield... I think we grew up right in the thick of when all of those movies were released.

Aside from the duplicate actors in a lot of them, have you ever noticed the similarities? Most of them include most, if not all, of the following:

* Single, attractive parent with single, attractive child
* A team of losers
* No hope in sight for a winning season
* A strange, strange, strange man who is usually the assistant coach
* Coach or other single, attractive man or woman who is of course attracted to the parental unit of the child
* Singularly gifted kid

Take a couple of those elements, change out the sport, add or subtract Emilio Estevez and bang! A brand-new, all original movie!

Or not. Basically, we've got a dozen or so movies with the same exact plot line. My question to you - is this any different in writing?

One of the speakers I heard at a writing conference one time suggested that it wasn't. According to him, there are no original plots anymore. There are original stories, but every plot can be traced back to one very similar to it.

His point? Our job as writers is to write amazing stories, not amazing plots.

So here's my question for you! Do you agree with that? Do you think there aren't original plots anymore? And if so, how do you take those unoriginal plots and create original stories?


  1. You know Erynn, it's so funny that you decided to write about this! I was just pondering this very question recently. The same old plots book after book do get tiresome, and soon they all start to mesh together until my brain is one big circus of characters, plots, motives, you name it! And then there are the books that completely blow every other same-ole-same-ole plot completely out of the water. If you focus on making up a new plot, the other parts of your story start to sag, and if you keep the same plot, it can get boring really quick if you're not careful. So my response to your question is this: I have no idea!But do know I'm thinking about it. :)

  2. It's Rookie Of the Year!
    i was watching Made of Honor this weekend and thinking the same thing. Made of Honor is just a switch of other plot line where the girls is secretly in love with the guy and tries to break them up!
    I don't know how to change it up though

  3. I think the advice is right to a degree, and I've heard the same thing taught by professionals. But I also think there are unique elements that can make any story fresh. That's what we are supposed to find. (which makes it so hard. lol)

  4. Betsy,

    When you really boil it down, novels are essentially character, conflict and climax. From the simplist picture book to the most complex sci-fi novel, readers embark on a journey of connecting with a character only to shiver with excitement, fear, embarassment, anger, love or jealousy in anticipation of the MC winning the ultimate battle.

    Whether the MC lives or dies, falls in love or remains abstinent forever, finds the killer, beats the bully, faces their failures or succeeds at any number of heroic and valiant deeds, the battle is fought and resolved.

    It is simply the nuances of voice, character, setting, conflict and resolution that create a fresh story.

    At least in my humble opinion.