Is there such a thing as ORIGINALITY anymore?
Growing up in the nineties, everything was an adventure. My friends and I didn’t have all the fancy gadgets or apps of today like iPhones, tablets, or social media. If we wanted to be entertained, we had to find creative ways to do just that. We’d make forts, play elaborate games at parks, jump rope and buy teen magazines just to get that supersized poster of our favourite heartthrob that we could plaster on our walls. Originality was everything. Thinking up fun new games we’ve never played before made hanging out with friends exciting and rewarding. Nowadays with all the advances in technology, kids no longer have to be physically present to hang out with one another, thanks to FaceTime and other apps. Creativity/originality can now be found online. Virtually anything and everything your mind could possibly think of can be put into Google Search and sure enough, something will come up. Crazy isn’t it that nothing is really “original” anymore?
Think about it. There are billions of people living on this planet with trillions of thoughts and ideas. Now that the Internet has provided these billions of people with an easy and accessible outlet for these ideas and thoughts, you’re guaranteed to find duplicates everywhere. I can specifically remember being a teen and constantly drawing this one character that I swore I would one day present to Disney, and it would be the next big thing. Sure enough, a couple years later, I’m casually flipping channels and there it is. Staring me dead in the face. My character. On TV. Someone took the thought right out of my mind and made it real. Heck, more than real – identical! Convinced that someone must have stolen a sketch from my sketchbook, I was infuriated and can recall having quite the tantrum about it.
Unfortunately the cold, hard truth of the matter is that no thought is ever truly original. Someone somewhere has already thought it. What it boils down to is who puts it out there first and how they do it, which makes me think of this new exciting world I’ve entered with my novel.
Thousands upon thousands of authors are all trying to get their story told, using social media to the fullest in order to reach masses and become the “squeaky wheel that gets the oil”.
While perusing through other book reviews, I’ve noticed what I like to call a trend – the comparison trend. Reviewers and booklovers have the tendency to say things like: “It reminded me of…” or “similar to…” or “had a _____ vibe to it”, which brings me back to my thought. Is anything really original anymore? Sure there are copycats out there who deliberately suck out as much as they can from other authors. But what about those who have a story and finally decide to tell it only to discover … it’s already been told.
What do you do? Give up? Certainly not! In my opinion, everything we approach in life is about understanding its monster. Once you wrap your mind around inevitable facts like: every story with a hot teen vampire will be compared to Twilight, or every story with teens living in a dystopian society will be compared to The Hunger Games and Divergent, you’ll see that at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. What matters is the story and how it makes readers feel.
It’s the tiny details that make all the difference when it comes to a great read. A compelling story should grip its readers and consume them. Okay, so it may be similar to x, y, z, but as an author, the “how it’s done” is everything. Finding out what makes our story unique and playing that up as much as we can is crucial to be set apart from everyone else.
As I’m currently writing the third and last book to the Oleah Chronicles series, I find myself captivated in the details. As an avid reader, I thrive on stories that can take me away and let my mind work its magic to create the world being described, stories that can utilize the power of my mind the way I used to as a child. Exciting and thrilling is what I strive for.
The marketplace for authors and writers is ruled by opinion. Everybody’s got one. Therefore, instead of worrying about comparisons, focus on the story. That is, after all, what everyone still seeks: a great story.