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Wanted: An Original Idea July 30, 2012

This summer two blockbuster movies have taken over the theaters: The Amazing Spiderman and The Dark Knight. They are both tearing up the box office and people are flocking to see their favorite super hero.  What’s even more astounding is that during previews for the films another super hero movie is now being marketed. A new Superman film is supposed to arrive in theaters in 2013.

 

 

While I love superheroes as much as the next person, it makes me wonder if there is an original idea left in the world.  Are we going to keep regenerating the same themes and characters over and over?

 

 

When I read agent blogs the same topic comes up over and over again. They want an MS with a unique idea, strong voice and fast pacing.  As a writer I understand voice, and pacing, but I wonder about the unique idea.  So much of what is on the shelves now seems to be a retelling of a familiar tale.  Writers are putting new spins on fairy tales, greek myths, and of course, as mentioned above, superhero tales – but there seems to be an overall lack of anything wholly and entirely original.

 

 

Even when I read fellow author blogs, I hear stories over and over about a finished MS that goes to pot because the writer just learned a book deal has been inked for an idea very similar to theirs.

 

 

As I write a new MS, I wonder how unique my ideas are.  I can’t know about every book that has been written in the YA market in the past several years.  I can do the research, but I can’t know what is already in the hopper with an agent or a publishing house.  So, I just continue to write, hoping my ideas have the magical three: voice, pacing and originality.

 

 

How about you fellow writers?  Are you frustrated by what seems to be a lack of originality in current books, movies and television shows?  Is there a place in the market now for something unusual and unseen? Or will we have to continue to slog through the continuous retelling of a very familiar plot?

 

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

 

Oh, and just one more thing I have to add.  In the past year, there have been small shimmers of originality in a few books I’ve read. ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD, SHADOW AND BONE and UNRAVELING to name a few.  I hope these authors, as well as those currently in the trenches, will continue to write these new, inspiring tales. Creating their own ingenious paths.  Their ideas are a breath of fresh air in a marketplace flooded with unoriginal themes.

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4 Responses to “Wanted: An Original Idea”

  1. [...] while ago I wrote a post questioning whether or not there was such thing as an original idea left in the world. This was after the release of the re-boot of the Spiderman series, and the [...]

  2. I feel the same way especially with regards to the movies that are being made. Everything seems to be a remake of a remake lately. When I was writing my first book, I refused to read any other book in that genre for fear of it influencing my writing. I was so scared that something would not be 100% original. But as they (whoever they are) say, there are no original stories -it has all been written before, at least in the most basic of plot outlines. I think as writers we need to not worry so much about following in the footsteps as those that have gone before us, and worry more about throwing original twists at those tired plots to make them something new and shiny.

  3. deshipley Says:

    Setting out with the number-one intention to come up with a concept that’s never been imagined before will frustrate you every time; as you point out, there’s almost always something too darn similar out there, somewhere. Personally, I’ve always got room in my reading/writing/viewing queue for an original retelling of an unoriginal tale. So long as the artist doesn’t feel tied down to the source material, the story can go in any number of shiny new directions.
    My thoughts on the subject are further elaborated in this post: http://everonword.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/original/


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