Writing Ramblings: Originality


writing ramblings

Sometimes it feels like its particularly challenging to create original plots today. But I guess it feels that way because there’s some truth to it.

Everything we read has been done before. After all, people have been telling stories for quite some time now. There’s bound to be some repetition.

I guess there’s this fine line between following some archetype and blatantly plagiarizing another novel. If you’re a writer, you need to be aware of what you’re doing. And sometimes, it feels like some writers aren’t. Or maybe they are and they don’t care.

For example, last year I read a book called The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. It’s about two enchanters in Russia who have to duel. One will win and become the adviser to the Tsar, and the other will be sentenced to death. Essentially, it’s about two magicians who are involved in a magical competition and there’s this big chance they may just fall in love with one another. Sound familiar? It’s incredibly similar to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  In both stories, the magicians/enchanters have been separated from each other and trained by by mentors.  The magic is performed in turns. They can “feel” each other’s magic. Etc., etc.

The Crown’s Game is what I want to avoid. Do I think Skye intentionally used the same plot and watered it down (can you tell I don’t like the book)? No. But it was the same story. It was too similar.

There’s a difference between using “the chosen one” archetype and writing a book called Gary Flopper and the Enchanter’s Rock.  But even though that rule seems pretty clear, I definitely have to take a few steps away from a book I love when I’m beginning a novel. That or I have to read a lot more than usual because it’s easy to let those books you love influence you too much. But who knows? Maybe I’m the only person that has those struggles.

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