Original vs. Derivative

Original vs. Derivative

Whenever I try to come up with a story I am always worried that someone has already done it before. That is usually why I don’t finish writing a story. As it develops, I come to realize that my story is something right out of TV Tropes.

I have been thinking lately on being the first to do something. What facet of writing is easiest to be original and which is the most difficult? Here are my thoughts on a few:

  •  Characters: I think that coming up with original characters is the hardest to do. Character archetypes can be repeated across multiple genres. I think that coming up with an original type of protagonist, antagonist or supporting character would be the most difficult.
  • Plot: Coming up with an original plot, with some new twists that haven’t been done before seems possible. I believe that most creativity in plot is just a subset of seven repeated stories (Christopher Bookers, The Seven Basic Plots.)
  • Setting: I think creating an original setting is the easiest. A character or plot may be used over and over again with some common variations. Sometimes the plot or actions of a character can be guessed because they are cliché; however, I very rarely find myself thinking that a new story occurs in the same world as another.

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