The Hottest New Idea

Monday, January 10, 2011

Photo "Idea Bulb" by Ramunas Geciauskas from Flickr

Some people have said that vampires are getting old, and aliens will be the next big trend, but I disagree. The newest trend is… that there is no new trend, or novel idea. At least I don’t think so. It’s mostly the same old, basic ones that we recycle over and over again.

Before I even started writing, I just sat around discarding story ideas because they were all too similar to ones I’ve read and I really, really wanted to come up with a novel idea, something that would shake the world up. And this was both frustrating and discouraging, because everything seemed to have already been written about, and I wished I could go back in time when fewer things had been written and there had been fewer writers so that I could write something for the first time.

So I was kind of stuck and not writing anything, until finally I got my mind around to the fact that it didn’t matter. At all. And it wasn’t about the idea, but about how you write it, the spin you give it. It’s not as if I’ll wake up tomorrow and write something and say to you:

“Hey, I have a book with a totally new concept, I’ve decided to call it love. It’s a little elusive, but I’m hoping to fix that during revision, maybe my crit buddies will help.”

And that’s okay. And maybe it’s even better that way because all the important things have been written about—love, friendship, fitting in, finding yourself, etc. As writers we always strive to come up with new stuff and I think we’re often scared that it won’t be new enough, it won’t be different enough, why are we even bothering, but really, it should make us feel better. Because 1) in the end the important things are all the same, so really we shouldn’t worry so much about coming up with something because it’s already been done, we should concentrate on expressing it, and 2) that means that there’s a lot of other people out there trying to say the same things as us so even if our unique viewpoint on them doesn’t reach that many people, theirs might.

Just a thought.

What do you think? Agree or disagree?


Nicole Mc said...

What is that comment about Shakespeare...he's already written all the stories...we are just borrowing them, or something along those lines! lol The point is, it's what you bring to it as a writer that makes it new and fresh. No one can write your story like you can.

Just like there are no new note combination's, but that doesn't keep me from loving new songs-even if they sort of remind me of another one.

I do know what you're saying though, we all desire to be unique and brilliant...and that is possible. Don't let the worrying taint your creativity!

Abby Annis said...

What do you mean aliens aren't the next big thing? That must be a typo. ;)

I agree that everything's been done before, and you definitely shouldn't be chasing trends. Just write the best story you can write and keep honing your craft. That's really all you can do.

Great post! :)

Plamena Schmidt said...

@Nicole Mc Good point about the note combinations. I used to play the piano and it always amazed me how the same notes can be used to make so many different songs.

Plamena Schmidt said...

@Abby Annis That was a typo! Aliens should definitely be thrown into every story. They add flavor.

Susan R. Mills said...

I think it's impossible to come up with anything entirely new, but we can add our own spin to it.

Kat O'Keeffe said...

Mmhmm, I agree! I think it's more about the execution than the idea, though of course a fresh concept doesn't hurt! Besides, I've read that there are only like 7 types of stories and everything out there is just a variation of one of those.

Hope revisions are going well for you! Mine are chugging right along :)

Plamena Schmidt said...

@ Susan R. Mills Yup, the basics have all been covered, we just have to add a different flavor.

@ Kat O'Keeffe Glad revisions are going well for you. It's my first time doing revisions so I'm still kind of stumbling about.