Well, of all the nonsensical blog post titles I’ve ever written, that’s possibility the most nonsensical of all. It’s tough to be original when you’re being original? What on earth is that supposed to mean? Has he finally lost all his marbles for sure?
I’ll try to explain the problem in a way that makes sense.
As anyone who follows my writing will know, originality is very important to me. I’m always trying to create stories that stand apart – stories that are like nothing else anyone has written before.
It’s possible that I’m giving myself too hard a goal. It’s possible I’m setting expectations that would be impossible to fulfill, given that when it comes down to it, there are only a finite number of different stories that can be written. I don’t know, but I’m doing my best to find out.
Anyway, back to the question at hand. How is it so tough to be original when you’re being original?
Look at it this way. Lets take a popular genre – detective stories for instance. There are heaps of detective stories out there. If you should happen to write a detective story, nobody is going to criticise you for being unoriginal, just because lots of other people have already written detective stories. Instead, they would just say that you’re contributing to an established genre. And it would be pretty much the same for other well-known genres like romance or fantasy or sci-fi.
Now consider for instance the first story I published – Doodling. To be honest, I have no idea what genre it is. It’s about a man called Neville who falls off the world and then has a strange adventure as he wanders around an asteroid field meeting a variety of odd people (so I suppose it could be considered as a kind of fantasy).
Funny thing is, when a lot of people read it, they instantly compare it to another story. That story is pretty much the only other story I know where a character wanders from asteroid to asteroid meeting odd people – and you’ve probably already realised I’m talking about The Little Prince.
Funny how when you write a story that’s similar to lots of other stories, nobody bats an eyelid, but when you write a story that’s only similar to one or two other stories, there starts to be a suggestion that you’re not being original.
Anyway, I hate to sound like I’m complaining, so I suppose that’s just the price any creative person has to pay. In the meantime, I’ll just keep trying to create the most original and unique stories I can.
Who know – maybe some day, people will be comparing other writer’s stories to mine.
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