Creativity and Originality

For a while now, a blur of thoughts have constantly been at the back of my mind. Is what I’m writing creative, original, unique? Is it special? What makes it worthy of being read and liked by others? Is it just another story that anyone could have invented and told?

Since I’ve been reading modern science fiction and fantasy more, I have grown more and more aware of the fact that the same ideas are used across multiple books. I’m not talking about the broad “it’s all been done before” and “there is no originality anymore” ideas. Sure, boy meets girl, girl is a kick-butt superhero and saves the day, etc., may have been done before, but that isn’t what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about specific things. Vampires and strong, nice, and can be in the sun, type of things. Okay, that one was too easy. I just read a sci-fi book in December, for instance, that has this scene in a clone-keeping facility. If you’ve ever seen The Island (2005) before, then you basically know this whole scene already and would be grimacing and digging your fingernails into your palms the entire time you read it.

the-island-5219b8978d83c

There were loads of other things in the book that had been done before. She had fake nature imagery on walls like what was done in Soylent Green (1973).

soylent_green_poster1

Silent Green’s poster is much cooler than The Island’s. Anyway, no, I do not consider the mention of these wall-panel-nature-viewing-things as a shout out to older sci-fi. I consider it lazy, and just like the rest of her novel, bad. If the book wasn’t packed with references to stuff that other authors and filmmakers have done before, it would be empty. I mean it. There is almost nothing original about the science fiction parts of the story.

I didn’t mean to complain about something someone else wrote for so long. I meant to complain about my own problems, lol.

I keep getting stuck on these ideas of creativity and originality in my stories. I’m not trying to invent the wheel or anything, but I also don’t want to simply rip off other peoples ideas, changing the character names and dialogue, and call it mine.

Part of the problem is I know several of my story ideas are worthy of being written or worthy of being edited and polished because I know already that they have those wonderful elements of originality and creativity. But I’m not working on any of those stories. I’m working on something sort of weird. Something that has it’s unique bits but also is…weird, lol. I’ve got the story, magic system, and invented world worked out, but I still can’t help but doubt the whole things worthiness. Is it worth my time to write? Should I focus on another story that I am more confident about?

Should I stop starting projects only to leave them unfinished while I pursue something else? Yes, definitely. Therefore, I must stick with what I’m working on, right? Bleh. Sometimes I think I have too many ideas. (Sometimes! I also think all my ideas are useless sometimes too, hence why I have so many uncompleted ones).

The point is, I’m rather wishy-washy about my current project(s). Thus, I’m not being very productive, despite having plenty of free time, an incredibly encouraging writing buddy, and a very supportive husband.

Alright, end of whiney post.

 

 

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8 thoughts on “Creativity and Originality

  1. I think the question of whether a particular story is worth writing is incredibly difficult, and you’re least able to be objective about it when you’re in the middle of writing it. If you’re anything like me, at this point you’re swinging between, omg, I love my story so much, and gee, this has to be the worst-written, most derivative piece of rubbish ever.

    I know how hard it is to keep on at something once you’ve started to doubt whether it’s worth finishing, and I don’t think there’s a universal right answer. I try to go with the idea that when I’m in the middle of writing something I’m in no state to judge its worth and I should just get on with it. Once I’ve finished it and put it aside for a while I might better be able to judge its merits.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is really good advice! And I agree. I don’t think you can really see a thing until it’s finished. I mean, it is so easy to change things while writing anyway: to discover a way to make something more realistic or impactful, to scrap something entirely that you had planned when it doesn’t seem to work anymore, to add something new and unexpected that just popped into your brain because it is somehow perfect. Plus there is always editing 😉
    I would rather have a few manuscripts that I can’t do anything with than a bunch of half finished projects anyway. To improve we need writing practice, lots and lots of practice! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. YES. It’s so hard to figure out whether or not a story is worth writing. But that also might be why I have loads of story ideas jotted down and only two (-ish) books completed. 😉 It’s good to be thoughtful, but not stagnant. I’m living proof of letting anxiety and feelings of unworthiness halt any progress. You have great ideas, and the stories will develop far better than you can imagine right now. I’m sure of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t any advice for you, but I can say that your doubts are normal! I think it’s best to trust what you’re doing. Thinking about the originality of the concept before beginning, and then digging into what you’ve written once the first draft is done seems best. So long as you’re writing and trust yourself, I think you’ll be alright!

    Liked by 2 people

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