After the last few weeks’ posts on Plot Structure, I wanted to follow up with this post on originality. This post is for those of you that are wondering how you are supposed to create an original story that people will want to read if you are using the three-act structure.
So how do you make something original? Well, let me just rip the band-aid off: you’ve heard of the saying “nothing new under the sun”, right? In my experience, it’s actually quite true. There is nothing new under the sun. For example, the book A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas is based on the fairy tales Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun, West of the Moon. However, the other day, I was watching this video by Ted-Ed on the myth of Psyche and Cupid and as I watched I realized all of it’s similarities with East of the Sun, West of the Moon. And so this is just one example of the fact that everything is based on something else.
But with this knowledge, it is almost inevitable to become hopeless in your aspirations to create something original. However, original is possible. Original is possible if you take something that already is, put it in a different context, and make it as your own.
“So,” you ask, “How does that make something original?” Well, think about it, West Side Story is a well-known production despite the fact that it is a spin-off of Romeo and Juliet. This is because the story was set into a different context. Just as an entirely different story can be made from putting Romeo and Juliet in a postapocalyptic world (Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge). But what does putting your own spin on it have to do with anything? Putting your own spin on something has to do with everything because just think, you are an original, a combination of events. Events that have probably happened to multiple people before, just never in that order. So, of course, you will be seeing different things in a story than another person might, and so it is your job to share that perspective with the world. And that is how you can make your creation original.
I hope you enjoyed this post on originality. Please share your thoughts and responses in the comments below. Thanks!