Originality is Overrated

What did I write today? 263 words of Chapter 2. Am I officially in a slump?

Got your attention with that, didn’t I?

Actually I enjoy originality. I love when a story surprises me in a good way and takes a well-known concept to a whole new level.

But notice how I said taking something already known. Though originality is good, it’s near impossible to be the first to create a completely original idea.

Today at class, I was reminded of this. I’m a Communication Major and it was a T.V. Production course. At the end of the lesson about storyboarding, we had to make our own on the spot to see if we grasped the technical aspects of it. So, the professor played on some instrumental music and told us to create.

I listened for a few minutes and I instantly had the picture of a beach in my head. I then saw a woman standing on the beach, waiting. Who was she waiting for? Ah, her boyfriend! He appears and hugs her from behind. The end.

I knew it was nothing special or terribly original, it was the easiest thing I could grasp.

The professor took my paper and asked me what it was out. I told her and suddenly, a fellow student exclaims, “No way! Stop being creepy! That’s what I did.”

She also made a storyboard about a girl, waiting at a beach…and meets a boy.

And the professor asked who else had a similar idea, and at least one more raised their hand.

But the interesting thing is, I went over to see what she did and besides being a totally better artist than me, her story wasn’t exactly the same thing. Her woman was younger and appeared lonely. Then when the boy appears, she looks at him surprised and happy. She rushes to him and hugs him. The end.

Same idea, but done differently. Mine, I had the boy go to the girl and they seemed to be much older, like their twenties. In hers, the girl was the one to hug the boy and they seemed much younger, like teenagers.

I think this happens all the time and it’s fine. Many say Twilight and Harry Potter are completely unoriginal, but I disagree (though I didn’t read Twilight and I don’t really like using them both in the same comparison, but it serves my purpose). True, teenage vampire romances have probably been done a billion times before and a story set in a school for wizards probably done even more.

But its the way they handled it that inspired readers to go crazy over them. The author’s unique view turned something that was supposed to completely unoriginal and overdone, into something groundbreaking (the popularity, the sales! They’re insane!).

So what do you think? Is it possible to be truly original anymore? Or are we somehow destined to share the same ideas and all we can do is put our own unique spin on them?

One thought on “Originality is Overrated

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  1. Uh, why are you stealing my ideas for blog posts? K, so I didn't have the story board thing, though I have taken a story board class. And I agree, there is nothing new. That's one of the things that I think we're realizing in the crit group as it's getting started. We did introductory blurbs this week and honestly, everyone's story, including and probably especially mine, sounds like something else that has come before. The key is getting in there and bringing those characters to life so that they can create something new for you.

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