Sunday, October 28, 2012

Back to the Drawing Board

So I have been mulling over a story option to use for NaNo, and just when I thought I knew which way I was leaning, I went on Amazon (FYI: I blame my procrastination on my awesome sisters-in-law who gave me a GC to help support my addiction... just saying.)  Anyway, I was reading a summary of a book I was considering and it was almost exactly the story I was thinking of writing.  Which makes me wonder, is this just a freaky coincidence, or did I previously read the description and just forgot?

My biggest concern is to make my book original.  Obviously, no one wants to copy another author's work.  But further, I really don't want my story to be even close to another author's work, for fear I would be constantly comparing the two, and finding mine lacking.  So the question is, how do you take a common theme and make it yours?  By way of example, there are a lot of people who have written about vampires (disclaimer: I've probably read a lot of those books!)  The trick is, to make it different from say Twilight.  Is there really a way to address these common themes in original ways, or are we all doomed to be a sort of fan fiction ripping off other author's ideas?

I am not really sure what the answer is, I just know I am holding out hope I can come up with an idea of how to address what is probably not a unique topic in a new and creative way.  I know the best way to do that is to come up with my own characters who are well developed and who readers can relate to (or at least characters who I relate to as I may be the only one to read this!)  Which means, I am basically back to the drawing board.

I have two potential story lines I am considering, but both have complications for me to consider.  One story I have developed a little more in my head but it involves me writing scenes I am not sure I am comfortable with yet (i.e., romance).  The second story is less developed but which I am a little more drawn to, but it involves a type of character who was previously addressed by a writer who I love.  I think I am leaning towards the latter at this point, but it is obviously a HUGE concern of mine to write about a character who was previously addressed by a writer I respect, even tangentially.  I mean, I love how she did it in her book, so the question is how can I do it differently?  The one positive with this storyline; however, is that this character was not her main character, but it was a significant one.

Of course, in the end, I am just hoping to come up with something uniquely mine, even if I am the only one who will read it.  So I think I will brainstorm a little more and hope to come up with my brilliant original idea, or at least my original take on a more common idea.  One way I will be doing this is by using the worksheets sent out by the NaNo contributors.  I find it amazing how many published authors, including quite a few authors whose books I have read, have taken the time to send out advice to aspiring writers.  I can honestly say, in the few days I've been working on this, I have already learned so much.  There are also a few writers who have their own blogs which I follow (i.e., stalk).  Most of these authors have written at some point about their writing process.  Again, this advice has been invaluable to me even at these beginning stages.  I have quite a few of the pages bookmarked for further review.  

As for coming up with my final plan, well I have three days until NaNo starts, so knowing me, I won't have made a final decision until the last possible second.  Here's hoping it is the right decision!

So over this weekend I have:

  1. Found out my brilliant original idea, is actually not so original;
  2. Scrapped said unoriginal idea;
  3. Got distracted on Amazon adding quite a few new books to my already overloaded wish list;
  4. Took time out to celebrate my 35th birthday (more like freak out over the idea I could possibly be that old);
  5. Come up with a game plan to make a decision on a new storyline; and
  6. Write this blog entry to procrastinate actually making said decision :)
If anyone who writes (or is attempting NaNo) is actually reading this blog, I am wondering how you address the concern that your storyline was likely already done.  You know the saying, there are no new ideas only new takes on those ideas... or maybe I made that up.

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