What makes an idea original? That is the question I need answered.
From the very beginning of the process to write my novel, I have asked myself that very question. Why? Because I keep stressing about whether or not my plot is original enough. I have many discussions with Jenni, and she keeps assuring me that most ideas are inspired by something that already exists. Nothing is truly original anymore.
And I suppose that's true, which I find very sad yet reassuring.
As I've pondered about this, which has been a lot of pondering, I've come to one conclusion and it can be summed up by a quote from the movie, "The Holiday."
To quote Arthur Abbott, played by Eli Wallach, "I counted. Nine movies are opening today. I remember when nine movies would open in a month. Now, a movie has to make a killing the first weekend, or they're dead. This is supposed to be conducive to great work?"
Now, I realize movies are not books, but the same principle applies. Just yesterday I read a post celebrating books Birthdays, or to be more specific, books that were being released yesterday and it consisted of 19 new Titles. (That's an awesome blog by the way, you should check it out.)
Now, don't get me wrong. I in no way think that these books are anything short of amazing. What I mean is, with so many new novels being written every day, how is it possible to come up with a TRULY original idea?
As writers, we are reviewed on so many aspects of our work including writing style, clarity, character development, ending approval, and so forth. The originality of our plot can be overlooked if we blow the reader away with our ability to capture the reader and pull them along unwillingly from page to page in a story so intense they can't physically put the book down until they've come to the conclusion.
Most authors are going to be faced with the phrase..."It was beautifully written, but it reminded me a bit of ______." (Please fill in appropriately, there are literally thousands to choose from.)
Now, the question I ask is this. Is it fair? Should we, as authors, be forced to stress about whether or not our book will be passed on simply because it reminded them a bit of a story they once read. Shouldn't our ability to write a beautiful story and spread a great message be the cornerstone by which our novel is judged? Or is that asking too much?