How do I maintain my originality?
by Samara Raisa
Question: I am trying to write a young-adult, fantasy, romance type of novel. It's first person POV. The girl is the main character who is a vampire. And there are two best friends who are human, and this new classmate got a crush on her. After a few days they came to learn the truth about her. In spite of knowing the truth they can't resist being drawn to her. That's how my story goes on. My problem is, there are a good number of books out there about almost same topic. How do I maintain my originality?
Two things to keep in mind:
1. Unless you are actually trying to copy someone else's story (and obviously you aren't) originality tends to take care of itself. If you give ten writers the same premise and tell them each to write a story based on it, the result would be ten very different books. This is why you cannot copyright ideas, only your unique expression of those ideas in words.
So relax and write the story that comes to you. It will be original.
2. If you are truly worried that the idea for your story is too similar to others, deliberately make a major change. Take any of the ideas you think you've seen before and put a twist on them. Brainstorm a huge list of possible changes or alternative ideas. Keep asking, "What if..." Don't hold back or censor any possibilities.
Then, after a day or so, go back over the list and choose which twists or new ideas you like the most. Write a new premise that incorporates your choices. Make sure the new premise is both unique and something that you are enthusiastic about.
A lot of great stories begin with a twist on a previous idea. For instance, the idea of taking the film Jaws
and setting it in space led to the film Alien
, just as the TV series Firefly
took the classic Western story about the confederate soldier who couldn't cope with life after the Civil War and set it in space. Harry Potter
is a variation on the boarding school story, adding in magic and the monomyth model. Twilight
combined the vampire story with high school romance.
So you've got a high school romance with a vampire. Give it a twist. What haven't you seen anyone do with this idea before? What would make it different/interesting/novel?