Wise, Witty, and Wacky Wednesday

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“There is nothing new under the sun.”

We all know this is true. Oh, sure, they make things shinier and put more stuff together.

Have you seen the new Kindle Fire- I’m super excited!

However, the point is that things are put together in new ways but we repeat the same things over and over. Canoes, bikes, wagons, cars, trains, and space shuttles are all transportation. Not a new idea. People have always wanted to go from one place to another and to go as far and as fast as they can. Yes, these are unique, but their basic idea is the same. It is the person making the item that makes it new, exciting, and original.
Cake has been around for centuries. However, an individual can make a basic vanilla cake something extraordinary.

This is true in writing. Joseph Campbell talks about how there are basic archetypal stories that we keep telling and retelling. This isn’t a bad thing; obviously people like these story archetypes, because we keep buying books.

So what makes something unique? You do. The author, artist, cook, speaker, teacher, poet, designer, builder, or storyteller. What makes what you do unique is you. Your perspective, vision, choices, it’s all about you.

So don’t worry if ‘it’s been done before’ we all know it has been done before many, many times. Gather up that basic structure and put your unique self into it.

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14 responses »

  1. Hey Alica! You’ve written a concise yet spot on description of writing books. I see the same “story” written over and over again, but it’s the way it’s written that makes me buy the book. We DO loves those archetypes, but there’s a reason for that. They appear in real life over and over again throughout history.
    Patti

    • When I first started I worried about writing a story just like all the others out there. Then I read something of Joseph Campbell’s and realized I was being silly.
      Although I still panic every time I think a YA might be similar to mine. 🙂

    • Yes, I agree there are several author where even their books follow the same structure so closely I can only read a few close together before getting bored, but then after a few months I pick up another one because they’re so fun.

  2. That is an excellent point. I tend to be more irritated than I should be when other stories are similar to mine. Instead I should wonder whose stories mine are emulating. If we have unique voices, the output will be unique.

  3. As a romance writer, I work within a set framework. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are kept apart by internal and external conflicts. Boy and girl overcome their differences, conquer their foes, experience personal growth, and enjoy their well-deserved and long-awaited Happy Ever After. Even though the format of a romance has been etched in literary stone, each one is unique because every writer tells a story differently. While a plot may appear similar to others, the author’s voice and style make that story special.

  4. This is so true. Lots of things get done over and over but with a new point of view. Your reference to Joseph Campbell and his Heroic Quest/Hero with a Thousand faces is spot-on.

    We all work in the same universe with the same central ideas–bringing a new twist makes it stand out and get noticed.

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