Monday, January 9, 2017

Is my story original? The Struggle

Struggling to find originality? Scared that your story has been done before? Many people (including me) have thought about this.

You feel like what ever you do, whatever you write, nothing is original. Some other, better author has already published the exact same thing.

Why should I even bother? They have found their originality and I'm just a copycat. Where can I find my originality? How do I know it hasn't been done before?

A user on Figment: Write Yourself In has also felt this way. You are not alone. Here is what she said in a post titled "I'm Incapable of Coming up With an Original Thought".

"Okay, I was just wondering if there was anyone else out there who struggles with righting fiction?!?!? I feel like I see all of your guy's stories and they are all so creative but I have a really hard time just pulling together a story like that. Most of my stories right now are either memoirs, of my thoughts on things, or a true story with the names changed. I don't know I just feel like I'm a better story teller/exaggerator than I am a story MAKER. I don't know how you guys do that! You are truly talented! I give my props to you. So I mean let me know if you feel the sames way and give me any tips on how to write some different stuff."
(Amelia Ann: Figment User. In case you're wondering, I have asked and she has agreed to letting me use her quote in my blog).

When you go to the link, you might find different responses to this problem. One of them being that everything is copied and/or twisted to sound original.

But don't be discouraged. Let me tell you something that might blow your mind.

Details in Conversation: A Discussion

So, I'm editing like crazy these days and one thing I started to do was to add more conversation and less "Interesting Tidbits".

Here are some Writerly Jargon and I'd like to add "Interesting Tidbits" as one.

Interesting Tidbits: Those details that the Author thinks is interesting and/or creative. Those details are only there because the Author wanted to show the reader some interesting detail about the story even though that detail does not make another appearance in the story. Those details are there because the Author is boasting how creative they are.

Admit it. I do that, you do that, we all do that, we are creative writers who love to show the world how creative we can be.

Now, to get back to the topic, I have started to replace details with conversation to MAKE THEM IMPORTANT.

To give an example,

How to Edit: What Details to Cut, What Details to Keep

In some stage in your editing process, you will find that you've got your story down and you know exactly how the beginning, middle, climax, and end are supposed to play out, you've got your world set up and your characters straight. The relationships between characters are so clear you can tell them to anyone.

Now you need to get rid of those details that hold the story back.

But how do you distinguish that from the details that you actually need?

Here's how.