Wednesday, June 4, 2014
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I have been working on something. It is one of those projects that gets done piece by piece over a long period of time. The more I work on it though I have to delve into a world of writing I don't normally go to. Sci-Fi. I love Sci-Fi but among my general reading it is the speculative fiction genre I have read the least amount of books in.
Working on this story, I see ideas I thought were cool and new only to find they are old hat for this genre. This led me to a question. How important in writing is complete originality? It is a hard thing to achieve and not just in writing. You can think you are the height of new fashion, but do a little research and most likely you are indeed playing off something others have done.
Don't get me wrong being original is important to me, but more so is telling a great story. To tell a story I need a world in which to put it. So I will keep this IWSG post a bit shorter than normal and ask you guys a few questions.
How important is complete originality for you as a writer/reader? If a book has great characters and a solid plot does it make up some for the 'I have been here before' setting?
Anyway I hope all of you are having a great June so far. As always, have fun and keep writing.
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You can take an old idea and put a new spin on it. My first book wasn't groundbreaking or original, but I took tried ideas and made them my own. You should try writing science fiction. It's fun!ReplyDelete
I think the biggest advantage to having an original setting is that if you also have engaging characters the plot can be average and the story will still shine, whereas if the setting is typical you need engaging characters and a stellar plot to make it work. When you have an original setting, the world-building mimics plot. Readers learn about the wonders of your universe as they read. For me, it's usually enough that the plot doesn't have to be anything special for the story to feel like it had a solid plot (if that choice of words makes sense).ReplyDelete
I haven't read a huge amount of SF either, but the more I read of it the more I write. My Zento setting stories make up about half of all the SF I've written.
I think that complete originality is next to impossible. All we can hope to do as writers is put our own stamp on it.ReplyDelete
I think Mr. Silver Fox hit the nail on the head. I agree that it's pretty much impossible to not follow some idea that was already used at some point. All themes have been done and redone already. Our aim, I think, is to write these ideas in our own way, and know that no one else could write our version of it, even if they tried. (Copy and pasting doesn't count :P)ReplyDelete
As for the characters, I think that they are exactly what makes us enjoy the ride. If we're invested in them and the novel has a solid plot, it more than makes up for it. For me, anyway,
I dig scifi and am intimidated by it at the same time.ReplyDelete
Let me answer that as someone who strives for originality above all and yet recognizes the futility of that pursuit. I have decided the very best thing I can do is work out the story from beginning to end. Then, and only then, I get to Googling and see how original it's not. If elements of my story are too similar to someone else's story, then I consider making a change. But if I start second guessing midstride, before finishing, I begin to devalue my story as a whole. Then my motivation fails.