Make It Your Own

Posted: January 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: My Thoughts, Writing | 3 Comments »

I’m writing a novel, and in doing so, I have read and absorbed a great amount of advice on writing. One topic that comes up frequently in writing forums is, “I have a great idea, but it’s not original. It’s like Stephen King meets Nicholas Sparks.”

Okay, maybe not that last part exactly, but you get the idea.

Let me set you free, there is no such thing as a completely new or original idea. Most innovations are improvements on something that already exists. In the example above, the novel isn’t a copy of King or of Sparks, it’s a marriage of the two. The author found something he liked about both styles and genres and combined them to make it his own. When this is done, it can be a train wreck, or it can be the next Harry Potter. What made this series so popular wasn’t the base idea, which is simply a coming of age story, but how British author J. K. Rowling delivered it.

And that is how our world is made beautiful, by people finding something beautiful and making it their own by adding a little bit of their personality and style.

Here is an incredible example I found, and the inspiration for this post. It’s solo cellist Kevin Olusola adding his own flavor to the song Julie-O and making it his own. Enjoy!

  • Christian Fahey

    Great point, Moon. We are all aggregates of our influences, collected over a lifetime. And that is not a bad thing. Often in music, when someone is covering a hit song, it falls flat when they try to do it exactly as the artist did. But when they add their own personal touch and groove to it, it lives. Same for everything else.

  • EmClementine

    Well put. While the desire to create something new can be overwhelming, it is more relieving to know that while it’s new because it’s ours, we only have influence because we have been influenced. Each person’s experience will skew it to speak to them, anyway, so why so much pressure to be unique?
    This takes the pressure off.

  • C.R. Mooney

    Christian and Em: Great words, thanks for stopping in. I also think it also helps me to recognize my arrogance at times, realizing that I am who I am only because of those around me.