1. C.F.W
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    C.F.W New Member

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    Making Ideas Original

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by C.F.W, Apr 13, 2013.

    Hey,
    I am currently working on a fantasy novel and have a number of ideas drafted up already. My problem is that I am worried that some of my ideas are too similar to things in current books. So, how is the best way to make my ideas unique and original? How do you personally do it?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Put your own spin and twists to it, make it yours! The best books use old ideas in a new shade of light. Originality isn't defined by original plots or anything, it's defined by how much of a spin is actually in it.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As everyone here will tell you, there aren't any really original ideas, fundamentally. Pretty much everything has been done before. Your originality will not be in your ideas, but in your voice, your attitude, your style, your philosophy. Your outlook on life will affect how you handle your story and what themes you want to emphasize. That's what nobody else can duplicate, and that's what will make your story unique.
     
  4. Quille
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    Quille Senior Member

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    I think the writing is top of the list.
    Sure I'm going to get some flak for the following. I only read the first Harry Potter book and imo the only original idea in it was the game. But her writing seemed to gather you up and bring you right into the middle of everything. Didn't read the rest of the series because there's so much to read and so little time to do it.

    Apart from that, look at what's been done and see if you can do it in a different way.

    Good luck.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes, what Xeno said. You have to look at things with new eyes. Fantasy is tough because so many fantasy novels are basically clones of Tolkien. Little, Big by John Crowley is a great example of a very unique fantasy novel. I highly recommend checking it out.
     
  6. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Just out curiosity, what other books out there are like Harry Potter? I would like to read those, very much so.
     
  7. Quille
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    Quille Senior Member

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    I don't know if there are other books like Harry Potter, I don't read YA. But I have been reading fantasy for a very long time, decades in fact, and apart from the game, I didn't encounter any new ideas. That's not a bad thing, as others have said, it's all been done before.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Originality springs from the details, not the broad strokes. Details such as nuances of character, how you manage pace, action, and description. It's the fine points of the writing that give birth to originality, not the main features of the story line.
     
  9. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I am confused now... You don't know of anything else like Harry Potter out there, yet you found the first Harry Potter to have nothing new at all besides Quidditch?

    How does that make sense?

    P.S. You got me excited for more books like Harry Potter. :(
     
  10. Quille
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    Quille Senior Member

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    I knew I was going to get flak lol

    What I said was "imo the only original idea..." I don't think that implies there are other books out there like Harry Potter. What I didn't see were any new or novel ideas around the use of magic, based on my many years of reading fantasy. I don't even think it was a put down of J.K. Rowling, the way she wrote was what made the books so popular.
     
  11. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I am not trying to give you flak, and I apologize if that is how it seemed. I was just confused and excited all in one, haha.

    But yeah, the first book doesn't push the boundaries with its magic system--it is, after all, middle grade, so you can't get too complicated. But the later books, without a doubt, do some interesting things. Especially when it starts to hit YA entries.
     
  12. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I haven't read Harry Potter, but I've seen the first few movies. It seems to be about good wizards fighting bad wizards. More specifically: young, inexperienced good wizards fighting ancient, experienced, very powerful wizards. A million stories, going all the way back to mythology, involve young inexperienced heroes taking on ancient powerful bad guys, often using magic in their battles. Not always, though - David beat Goliath with a slingshot. Maybe Harry Potter should have used a slingshot (or, heck, an assault rifle) on Voldemort.

    Jhunter, what specifically do you like about Harry Potter? Is it Rowling's writing? Is it the specific set of characters she created? Is it the setting? What is so appealing about it?
     
  13. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    The world, the characters, the writing in the later books (I don't particularly think the first few books are written all that well), the idea of going to school to be a wizard, and much more. But, perhaps most importantly, I probably have a deep love for it because I grew up reading it. The first book came out when I was twelve (1997) and I didn't stop reading them until completion at the age of twenty-two (2007).

    I have been an avid science fiction and fantasy reader ever since I can remember, and I have not come across anything remotely like it before or after. Sure, when you take a look under the hood it may look just like any old car, but the paint job on the outside is one-of-a-kind.

    Also, the movies don't really do it justice. I have major beef with a lot of the movies. Though, don't get me wrong, I like them as well.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That's a good honest answer. I respect that. When I was twelve, it was Asimov's Foundation series and Robert A. Heinlein's Future History series that did it for me. Careful - in a couple of decades you might want to reread Harry Potter, and you might find it isn't anywhere near as good as you remember it. You can't go home again, as the saying goes. :)
     
  15. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Sadly, I know all too well about childhood nostalgia not stacking up as an adult (I'm looking at you, Final Fantasy VII). However, I did re-read Harry Potter not long ago (which is why I no longer think the first few books are written well). But, while I no longer feel about them the way I did as a child, they still outshine the rubbish YA coming out these days (at least in my opinion). Especially the ones getting major movie adaptations right now.

    Off the top of my head, and I am sure there is probably a few more, these are some that still stack up for me as an adult:


    - Tolkien
    - Robin Hobb
    - Robert Jordan
    - George RR Martin
    - The Back to the Future trilogy (haha)

    But, sadly, I can list off dozens of things in all mediums that don't do it for me anymore as an adult. It was good to be kid. :D
     
  16. sanco
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    sanco Contributing Member

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    "Originality is... a by-product of sincerity" - Marianne Moore
     

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