Monday, August 16, 2010

Think Your Story Is Original? Think Again

Okay, I am in Florida with my three sisters enjoying a reprieve from the Texas heat. I left Dallas on Saturday where the temperature was supposed to get up to 104 with a heat index of 119. Here it's only 93. Yay!!!

Anyway, I forgot to write a blog for today, and there's no way I can manage it with my sucky typing skills and this laptop. So, this is an encore blog. If you've read it before, oh well. If not, enjoy it. It's a common misconception writers have, moi incuded.

Okay, you've come up with an original idea...Oh wait! You read a book similar to that several years ago, or you saw an episode of "Law and Order" that was kinda like it. Actually, you can think of several stories that used your "original" premise.

Now quit whining and keep reading. "How can you come up with an original idea?" you ask. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you probably can't. Now don't go getting all discouraged on me. The truth is, unless you've come up with a plot line so far out there no one else has attempted it, you're using a "tried and true" idea.

To quote NY Times Bestseller and fantastic motivational speaker, Bob Mayer, every idea has already been done. The difference comes in the "transfer to story, usually through unique character, unique setting, unique POV and unique intent."

Easy for him to say!

My Romantic Suspense is about a team of operatives whose main character is a woman who's emerged from a deep undercover assignment scarred because of what a certain villain did to her. This is so great, I thought. I am so freakin' creative, sometimes I scare myself.

Anyone watch "24" last season? Renee could be my heroine. A woman so psychologically damaged by a bad guy, she thinks no one could ever love her again.

Well hell!

Then I came up with a great story about my Bunco group. I've known some of these women over twenty years. We laugh together, cry together, even vacation once a year together. There is no collection of funnier women on this planet. I'm back to being a legend in my own mind again.

Found "Bunco Babes Gone Wild" by Maria Geraci when I Googled Bunco.

Well double hell!

I hope by now you're getting the message and already thinking about ways to turn your "original" idea into a great story. We're dying to hear how you're going to do it.

Oh, I almost forgot. I do have one story about a woman who has to steal a sperm specimen from a perfect stranger. Bet you've never seen that one at Barnes and Noble!

Hold the phone. The last time I posted this, my friend, Melanie Atkins, informed me she had seen that same plot on an episode of Law and Order SVU.

So, I guess my theory still stands. There are no new plots...only old ones with unique twists.

I'd love to hear your take on this I promise to check back several times today and answer your comments. That's if I'm still alive. It's a race to see which sister will be left standing after we kill each other!!

Now there's an origial plot!


Lindsay said...

Nope, the plot of sisters killing sisters has been done. Sorry. But, you're right, it's the twist we put in the story that makes the difference.

Donna Cummings said...

Hope you have a great visit with your sisters, Liz (and hope you packed enough bail money! LOL)

It is hard to be "original", but I guess we can always strive for "fresh". In one way or another! :)

Taryn Kincaid said...

It's not about the plot, not really. Various different schools of thought have it that there's only 3 plots under the sun. Or 7. Or 21. Depending on who you ask, or what web site you check. (Or, I suppose, whether you're actually shooting craps or playing blackjack or roulette!)
It's all about the voice. Yours. Your characters. That's what makes your story unique.(Especially if you're writing romance, where you KNOW, it's got to a have an HEA!)
(My fitty cents, anyway!)

Melanie said...

Hahaha, Liz! Too funny. I have Google alerts set up for Law & Order SVU, and that's how I found your blog today. Too cool!

You're so right about the plots. Fresh twists are the way to go, but sometimes it's so hard to come up with something realistic before somebody else writes the same thing. Aarrggh!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Plots plots and more plots...oh my! I'm a plotting machine lately, but I agree, so not easy.

Have fun with your sisters :-) Can't wait for that book!

Mary Martinez said...

Liz, encores are always good. I love that you visit your sisters and have fun. Enjoy them.

Original? Oh mine are all original, no one could have the same vivid imagination as I have, could they? LOL. You're so right!

Liz Lipperman said...

Lindsay, wasn't that "Whatever happened to Baby Jane?"

And you're right about the twists.

Liz Lipperman said...

Thanks, Donna. My sisters are my best friends, but OMG, they can be annoying.LOL

I'm not sure there is any original plot out there. Lindsay is right. It's the twist.

Liz Lipperman said...

Taryn, that'sintersting about the number of actual plots out there.It should make us all work a little harder on beefing up
our characters and on making the story unique.

Thanks for commenting.

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Mel, funny that you saw this on a Google alert. I can't believe you actually have SVU on Google Alert. You are so addicted to that show.

No matter hoy you got here, I'm glad you found your way here.

Liz Lipperman said...

Kari, I feel your stress. You have done well with this book.Iknow it will be great.

Liz Lipperman said...

Mary, I am positive all your plots are original. LOL

Still, I refer to my sperm story a the SUV. I thought no one would do this. Just shows to go you!!

Diane Vallere said...

Maybe it's all been done, but it *is* fun to absorb as much as you can and put your own spin on a concept. To me, that's the best part of the process.

Nice post!