How do you know a novel idea is not cliche?

E.g. a book focusing on criminal psychology. I have no idea whether it's been done to death or not. A friend of mine says it's different but my sister (who's watching the TV series 'Criminal Minds' these days!) says it's old and the whole' lashing out to find control' is a cliche.

What do I do? Do you think it's cliche?

And can you use a different setting to bring originality?

Oh, and another thing. I think the reason I find it original is that I haven't read novels focusing on criminal psychology. Actually, I read a lot of romance, but I want to write about this! That worries me for everyone says that you should write the kind of books you read. Do you think that's a problem?

Thank you so much for answering all my questions :)

Response: On a certain level, there are no original ideas, only original ways to express them. Many a well-worn idea had been made fresh by telling it in a new way. Often, the key is to combine two old ideas that have rarely been put together in the same way before.

For example: high school romance + vampire = Twilight.

Boarding school rivalries + wizard = Harry Potter

Survivor + military draft = The Hunger Games

Of course, there's a lot more to these stories, but you see what I mean.

Even if your idea has been done before, it may not have been done the way you want to do it. You may also find a way to combine it with another idea in a way that has not been done before. (Romance?) Sometimes just writing in a fresh, hip style makes all the difference.

That said, it is helpful to familiarize yourself with the genre you want to write in, particularly the most popular examples. Every genre has its defining traits. And readers who like the genre will have certain expectations that you may want to be aware of. For example, romance readers expect the heroine to find love by the end of a novel. Murder mystery fans expect the killer to be identified. Disappointing your readers would be a risky decision.

The most important thing is to find a writing idea that really grabs you, that you can feel passionate about. If this idea really excites you, don't let other people stop you by tearing it down. Try to create something they'll love as much as you.

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