You’re Not Original, Except For When You Are TOTES Original!

Word Count

Needless? Maybe. I’ve started the second draft. In this case, it begins with a chapter-by-chapter critique. I need direction before I start the Bloatening™.

Writer’s Advice: Copy-Catting!

At one writer’s workshop, a published author (whose name is lost to time) told me that there are no original stories anymore. In fact, (he insisted) original stories are impossible. So many books have been published over the last hundreds of years that everything has been pretty much covered.

Now I knew right away that this was bullcrap and I told him so. On the spot I told him a few story ideas that I was pretty sure that no one had ever written. One was about a near-sighted sperm trying to fertilize a white blood cell.

He walked away from me, presumably to steal my idea. First one’s free, kids!

Incidentally, at the end of this I will list some more totally-not-done story ideas. All I request is credit. As you accept your Pulitzer, please talk about this amazing writer you’ve read who toiled in anonymity while you gained from their creativity.

While you’re at it, please mention me as well.

Really, though, that author was right. Somewhere out there is a book, published or not, that approximates the outline of your novel. It isn’t the same. It resembles, but is legally distinct. It’s all been done before.

But not by YOU. That’s the important bit.

It’s the style that matters. It’s your voice. If you’ve developed your writing, you have an original voice. No one has ever told a story like you.

Unless, of course, if you are or have a clone. The rules change at that point. If you both want to write the same novel, you only have a few options open to you:

  1. Take it in turns writing the novel, then go on a “dueling book tour” where each one describes the other as an impostor. In the confusion, pick everyone’s pockets and leave a copy of your novel in their coat.
  2. You write the novel while the clone writes the sequel. Then, stack them up for better sales. Once you’ve done that, split the profits three ways: one for you, one for your clone, and one for me. I told you the FIRST one is free. I already gave that.
  3. Fight to the death using gladiator weapons. Preferably with that Star Trek Original Series fighting song playing loudly in the background. One of you should have a torn shirt and a chest wound. It gives the illusion of danger, which is not an illusion at all because this is very real, my friend. May the best clone win!

Those are the only options I can see for your particular problem. Sometimes writing is a cut-throat business… literally. Wink!

If you are like I am, cloneless and very similar to me, then those last paragraphs were a total waste of your time. No apologies! Pushing on! Excelsior!

I seem to have drifted, so I’ll pull myself back to the point. Don’t worry about TOTAL originality. Make it as original as possible, of course, but concentrate on the journey. How will YOU take the reader there? How will YOU make the journey enjoyable?

Yes, you. Don’t fidget when I type at you.


My ideas for totally original stories:

  1. A turtle coming ashore to lay it’s eggs gets lost and ends up being the CEO of Uber.
  2. Two nations go to war. A third nation feels left out so it makes war on itself to make the other nations jealous.
  3. An enterprising reporter follows a twisted trail of intrigue and murder only to find out that the world economy is run by a crowded room filled with ordinary, run of the mill puffins.
  4. Rogue hypnotists stalk the land forcing people to cluck like chickens due to a misunderstood plan by the American Poultry Association.
  5. A baby Tyrannosaurus Rex comes to terms with the fact that his tiny arms prevents him from attaining his dream of being a lathe operator.
  6. An immortal vampire falls in unrequited love with coffee crumble cake. Since all she can eat is blood, she must love coffee crumble cake from afar. TWIST: She’s not a vampire after all. She’s an albino. You’ve been Shyamalan’ed!
  7. A sexy male pirate accidentally attends a Halloween costume party in the future. He is confused by the suddenly huge amount of fellow pirates around him, but is frustrated by the fact that none of them know how to make a rat-tail stopper knot.

That should be enough to get you on the road to dominating the publishing world. I pushed you out of the next, my baby birds! It’s up to you to fly!