Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Original Writing (not Original Ideas)

There are no original ideas. It's all been done before in one form or another. Don't let that stop you! What everyone wants is original writing. There's still plenty of need for that. It's hard to explain but we know it when we see it, right?

The turn of a phrase.

The twist of a plot.

The description that makes you stop and reread just because it is heartrendingly perfect.

A character who is so realistic you catch yourself wondering how he's doing long after you finish the book.

Original is the kind of writing that makes people love your story. It's what writers all strive to produce. It's definitely not easy but intensely rewarding--for both the reader and the writer--when it happens.

30 comments:

  1. As someone who LOVES re-envisioning the old stories, I have to work really hard to remember this. But that doesn't mean I can't retell them in new ways. Thanks for posting!

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  2. Sometimes I'll re-read an old story, tucked in my filing cabinet and forgotten, and be amazed that I wrote it because it sounds so good. Other days, I'll cringe when I find a different story.

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  3. I hope maybe one day if it's only one story! :-)

    Take care
    x

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  4. Ah yes..."when" it happens...

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  5. Excellent post! "The Sky Is Everywhere" by Jandy Nelson jumps to mind when I think of original writing. The story has been told before, but the characters and the setting and the writing are all so unique.

    May we all be so original!

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  6. yes!! I love this! I get hung up on my ideas not being the most unique thing ever and this made me feel much better.

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  7. There are only so many storylines but it's how we put it all together that makes it original.

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  8. I'm savoring The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater right now because it is so exquisitely original and beautiful. She didn't invent water horses, but what she's done with the story is brilliant.

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  9. It is the uniqueness within ourselves that makes a story original. When we put ourselves into the story, it takes an idea that was not original and makes it original. Hooray for the author!

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  10. I loved The Book Thief for that reason. Zusak's writing and his use of Death as the narrator drew me in like no other.

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  11. You've said it so well. Originality is what sets a book apart and makes reading exciting over and over.

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  12. Mmmmm. I let out a contented hum I wish you could hear as I finished reading your post. Lovely.

    Thank you for the welcome reminder.

    I love this challenge - and sharing my passion with writers and bloggers like you!

    Julie Jordan Scott
    Fellow A to Z Challenge Writer
    twitter: @juliejordanscot
    O is for Octavia
    On a Mission to Spread Word-Love Throughout the World

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  13. As you and other bloggers manage the ABC challenge, I find myself looking with great anticipation to the X... PB writers who contemplate writing alpha-bet books are told the test is the X-challenge. This is where *O*riginality will make or break a submission.
    Almost there...
    No pressure. :)

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  14. You are so right. original writing is what makes you remember a book. Didn't think of it that way. I have been so lucky to read several books recently that linger in my mind for that very reason.

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  15. I too love this challenge cause it has brought me to the door steps of really intersting people with something you can learn from like YOU! Thanks so much for giving us something to ponder. I love your blog.

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  16. So true!

    I'm enjoying the challenge again this year...thanks so much for co-hosting.

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  17. Well put! I totally agree. Unique writing/telling is where it is at.

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  18. There's nothing new under the sun, only new ways to look at them.

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  19. Completely agree :) Just because someone's already done a certain topic or story, doesn't mean it won't be completely different from another writer's POV. The currently competing film adaptations of Snow White are the perfect example (Mirror, Mirror vs. Snow White and the Huntsman).

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  20. So true! It is the same with my photography...always looking for that slightly different angle. :-)

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  21. If all writing were orignial ideas then we wouldn't have so many vampire and zombie novels to wade through! Great post again.

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  22. Thanks for the reminder. I'm always agonizing over whether any idea I come up with is original enough.

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  23. Yes, I agree, there's nothing more incredibly wonderful than a true wordsmith. I could swim in prose that is delicious and sensual. I'm over from A to Z saying hi!

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  24. Everything looks different from different angles or light.

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  25. the love of a good book . . I'm trying to be that writer with a couple ideas :)

    .........dhole

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  26. Yes! I love it when I care enough about a character to wonder how they're doing after the final page has been read. Lovely post.

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  27. I love it when I can't stop thinking about a character. you know it's a damn good book if you're still thinking and talking about it long after you have read it :)

    Universal Gibberish

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  28. Stopping by to say hello! Great post.

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  29. Stopping by to say hello and thanks for all the inspiring posts.

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  30. Thanks for the reminder, and that's okay. BTW I just started House of Diamonds last night - hooked me on the first page!

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