Well come on in and get warm! PK welcomes you to her cozy little blog ....
Okay, I'm a fantasy freak for sure. My true genre of passion is pure fantasy. It's what got me started writing stories in the first place. After my daughter was born and I decided I was going to write a story, I spent a year writing it out. It was a YA story about a wood sprite (or faerie) getting lost outside her woods and embarking on an adventure quest to get back home, all the while meeting different magical and non-magical creatures along the way.
This was before the Tinkerbell books and movies came out. I thought the idea was somewhat fresh and original. Then, while I was in the middle of writing, I saw it--the Tinkerbell book, the Quest for something ... and I felt sick. All my ideas of originality flushed down the toilet. But I kept writing because I had to finish it.
I finished writing the first in the series, then began the sequel. I queried a few agents, but got no interest. Little did I know at the time, that I didn't know jack about writing a query. Plus, my ms was in major need of trimming and polishing. I was a newbie writer ... I didn't know. I was convinced it was my lack of originality preventing any real interest. Darn Tinkerbell and her rabble of fairies! I used to like her too. lol
*inserts Tinkerbell in a noose here*
So I ventured off into other writing realms. I wrote a contemp romance, a political thriller, then got back to YA and have written two contemps since then, my most recent the NaNo project. Now I'm ready to get back to my roots ... back to writing fantasy, but with a new perspective ... But don't leave yet !!
I'm tying this into originality, I promise.
I know I gave you a lot of backstory there, but the reason is, for one, this ain't a novel (tho it may seem like it at this point) and for two, so you can see why I've come to my conclusions. Originality is not just about thinking up some brand new creature or world or plot--though those things are great! Originality is also about putting a fresh spin on an old idea.
Take Harry Potter for example. It's a perfect example of how an author can combine new ideas with old ones to craft a story. JK Rowling is not a genius. She's one clever duck, but no genius. She borrowed ideas and creatures to create her stories around. Of course, a lot of it IS original. But that's my point. As writers we can pick and choose and use both.
Take the dementors from HP -- they have an uncanny resemblance to the ring wraiths from Lord of the Rings.
Or how about Aragog the spider?? Very much like Shelob from LOTR. Of course, JK used many other fantastical creatures like unicorns, mermaids, goblins, etc. She borrowed names from constellations and Greek gods and philosophers. She thought up some really great characters and had a phenomonal setting. Everything else was classic good against evil and a fresh twist on fantasy fluff.
And I adored it just like the rest of the world. So what is originality? Does it mean we have to think up something completely original? Well, it won't hurt. But we can have free range using others' ideas as well. What makes this so awesome is that no other writer in the world will be able to put a spin on something the way we do. Now, I'm not saying go out and write your own story about an orphan boy wizard who goes to school in a super cool castle outside of London and put your own spin on it. Duh. But use the creatures and ideas that are already out there--just twist them around a little. Let the readers see them through YOUR eyes. Make it your own.
After all, that's what originality is-- the world through your vision. What could be more original than that??
Thoughts? What makes something fresh and original to you? How do you put a fresh spin on an old idea? You know that part of the query where we can put similar stories that have been successful? Do you do that?