Thursday, November 3, 2016

Plot Originality is Overrated

You can’t wait for inspiration. 
You have to go after it with a club. 
~ Jack London

There's a theory floating out there in Literary Land that there are only so many plots to go around, that every story is just a variation on one of the basic six, seven, eight, nine, or even twenty plot lines. There will never be any more than that because they all boil down to one of those already in existence.

How does that make you feel? 
Freaked out? 
Like balling up your writerly towel and tossing it into the corner?

Cheer up. It's not that bad, because here's the deal . . . you can use one of those basic plots and write a wangbanger of a story that's completely awesome. You don't have to be original with your basic plot structure. Plot originality is not only overrated, it has a way of instilling paralyzing fear into newbie writers. If you can let go of the stress of re-creating the wheel every time you sit down to write a story, your words will flow more freely. 

Yeah, I hear your screechy voice right about now. "But Michelle! You call this advice? What kind of hippy-dippy whacked-out mind-bending drugs are you taking? Why would anyone want to buy my story if my story is exactly like oodles already out there?"

Settle down. I guarantee you it won't be exactly like anything that's been written before. How do I know that? Because you're the one writing it. It will be in your voice, with your distinct combination of words and rhythm. The story Cinderella has been written a bajillion times, but if you create a novel based on that plot line, it will be unique because you did it. And here's the kicker -- you don't have to try to sound like yourself because you are yourself. It's natural. It just happens.

So don't get all knotted up over figuring out the most exotic plot that's ever been penned. Your voice is what will make your story a rarity. 


chappydebbie said...

This is so true. Sharing.

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