Today’s guest post is by my lovely writing buddy, Patricia Lynne, who has just published her second full length novel, Snapshots. She shares with readers how she tried to keep things original when telling a story that has been told before.
Say you go into a book store. A cover catches your eye, so you pick it up and read the back. It sounds interesting enough so you buy the book and take it home to read. As you read, you start to notice things. A cliché character. Predictable plot. An idea that has been done a million times (like vampires.) By the end of the book, you’re a bit disappointed because you had read that story before. Different names and cities, but over all, the same.
I’ve heard it said that there is no originality left. All book ideas rehash something. And that is true. You can read two books that have the same basic elements. You can love them both. Or hate the second one because you were looking for something fresh and didn’t find it.
When I wrote Being Human, I knew I’d have that obstacle. People were getting tired of vampires. (I saw a lot of agents say in their submission guidelines “NO vampires or werewolves!”) But that didn’t stop me from writing it. I had a twist on this creature that I thought was unique. That twist would be enough to give readers a new story. If reviews are anything to go by, then I managed quite well.
I had the same issue with Snapshots. Cyc is a seer. He can see into the future. I have a writer on twitter who has a seer character. I’ve seen movies with seers and read comics with seers. Nothing new at all. How do I make Cyc different? I started with his ability. He doesn’t randomly see the future. Events don’t send him into a trance-like state as he’s walking down the street. He has to look in your eyes, both of them to see a future. Then it’s the person’s future. He never sees his own. To avoid this happening, he keeps one eye covered.
Another twist I gave Cyc is a lot of seer stories has the seer seeing a horrible vision and that drives the plot. Someone they love is going to be murdered. A tragic accident will bring down a plane full of children. The seer and friends try to stop the vision only to end up causing it. Not Cyc. By the time Snapshots starts, he’s learned not to mess with the future. He knows what he sees is subjective and can change, so he doesn’t try to stop or change what he sees. He just reports it to his adoptive father. In essence, his ability isn’t a focal part of the story. It’s just a part of him and he’s learned to adapt so it doesn’t hinder daily life.
It’s hard to come up with a completely original idea now-a-days. There is always some overlap. But that doesn’t mean you can create a fresh story. Add twists and turns that breath new life into thousands old mythical creature. Give a plotline a few unexpected stops. You can create a compelling story that will stand out in it’s own way. You just may need to be a little creative, but hey, that’s what writers do best!
**To help promote this awesome YA book, I’m holding a giveaway! Leave a comment letting us know what kind of stories you’re tired of reading and what you hope will make a come back in a new way. Also add an email address so I can let you know if you’ve won a digital copy of Snapshots!** -Ed.
About the Author
Patricia Lynne never set out to become a writer, and in fact, was never gave it any thought during high school and college. But some stories are meant to be told and now she can’t stop. Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.
My name is Cyclop Blaine and I am a real person.
“You are mine.”
I am a real person: heedless of a childhood spent under the supervision of an old man I only know as Master.
“You belong to me.”
I am a real person: regardless of my teenage years bound by violence as the adoptive son of the Victory Street Gang’s leader.
“You will obey me.”
I am a real person: despite the visions I see in others’ eyes. Snapshots of their futures.
“You will cower before me.”
I am a real person: my life will be my own. I belong to no one.
“You. Are. MINE.”