Originality and Inspiration

Someone on OYAN posted the following questions and asked fellow students to answer them. He felt that his writing lacked originality, and so he wanted to find out how others got their story ideas and such. I figured I’d post my answers here. What works for me may not work for you, mind, but it’s certainly a jumping point.


Where do I get the inspiration to write such a story? I generally get the inspiration for a story from everywhere. Inspiration for novels comes from other novels, bits of dialogue, a man I see on the street… You get the idea. I’ve had an idea for a short story come the other day in the form of a side view mirror in a car.


Now, just because I get ideas from everywhere doesn’t mean I use all of them…

What kind of creativity is required to make something original, yet not on the lines of absurd? It’s not just the sit-down-and-think creative process that really makes a good story, but the whole mulling-it-over for me. I can’t come up with something ‘original’ in one creative session. Normally, I write the idea down in its bare-bones form and let it bounce around in my head. If it stays there, it moves on to the next process. If I forget it, then it’s gone, and I may or may not go back to it later.


Then I present the idea to other people, mostly the people on the OYAN forums. Depending on their feedback, I will either ditch the story, or work to make it more original through plot bunnies, character development, and setting.

What difficulties and challenges must be overcome in order to reach this goal? Tiredness, boredness, unwillingness to actually finish the story…. etc. Laziness and procrastination are also determining factors. Some days, I just don’t feel like writing.

What is your view on the concept of originality in general? There is nothing new under the sun. Everything has been done already, and there’s no point in trying to create a truly original story. I think what makes a story ‘original,’ in our culture’s eyes, is the level of emotional impact it has on the reader. Anyone can write a novel about a boy who goes to wizarding school, but the truly original one is the one that made you cry for the last two hundred pages.


Harry Potter, anyone?


I digress.


Maybe someday, I’ll write a review of Harry Potter without giving away too many spoilers.


Anyway. A merry day to all, and to all a good night!


~Mercia Dragonslayer

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About merciatremblac

I'm a junior in college, creative writing major, currently living in the mountains of North Carolina with my best friend for a roommate.
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