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Saturday, November 18, 2023

Originality in Storytelling | Writing Ahead

originality in storytelling

Has all the things been performed earlier than?

Most storytellers attempt to put in writing recent, authentic tales. They’re hoping to provide you with an concept that’s by no means been performed earlier than.

Is that even attainable?

Most tales are constructed with common buildings, or they use components that may be discovered within the plethora of tales that already exists. That’s why readers can usually predict the end result of a plot (we’ve seen that plot construction earlier than) or why some characters really feel acquainted, cliché, or stereotypical (we’ve seen these characters and their issues earlier than).

But when it’s true that each story accommodates components of tales that got here earlier than, then why do some tales really feel authentic, even when they’re not?

How Many Plots Are There?

In his ebook The Seven Fundamental Plots: Why We Inform Tales (aff hyperlink), Christopher Booker claims that there are solely seven totally different plots in all of storytelling.

Booker’s argument sparked a lot dialogue amongst writers and readers, and a terrific debate ensued. Was it true? Are there solely seven fundamental plots? And in that case, how may any story written after the primary seven presumably be authentic?

You’ll be able to have loads of enjoyable attempting to categorize your favourite fiction into one among Booker’s seven plot classes:

  1. Tragedy
  2. Comedy
  3. Overcoming the Monster
  4. Voyage and Return
  5. Quest
  6. Rags to Riches
  7. Rebirth

Booker’s idea of restricted potentialities inside fiction is just not a brand new thought. Joseph Campbell dissected the key components of narrative and produced the Monomyth (or Hero’s Journey) in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (aff hyperlink), which recognized the core plot components of storytelling within the realms of mythology and folklore.

Campbell’s concepts have been utilized, examined, dissected, rearranged, and resurrected by writers, filmmakers, and literary analysts. One of the crucial helpful interpretations of Campbell’s concepts is present in The Author’s Journey (aff hyperlink) by Christopher Vogler; it’s a transparent and descriptive presentation of the Hero’s Journey, designed for use by writers who’re crafting or troubleshooting tales.

Do all nice tales match the Monomyth sample? Some declare there are fundamental components within the Monomyth that any respectable story should use. Others says that the Monomyth is only one of many storytelling potentialities.

One other widespread breakdown of plot boils all of them down to 3:

  1. Man towards man.
  2. Man towards nature.
  3. Man towards himself.

And we surprise why it looks as if all the things’s been performed earlier than.

Shattering the Fantasy of Originality

Even though all the things’s been performed, authors and different storytellers proceed to supply tales that really feel recent. So how do they do it?

Take into account two of essentially the most well-known tales in latest historical past: Star Wars and Harry Potter. Right here’s a fast take a look at only a few of essentially the most hanging similarities between these two tales:

Each tales are about younger orphans who stay with their aunts and uncles. Each protagonists have been orphaned when the villain murdered their dad and mom. They discover out they possess particular skills. They purchase allies, together with some non-humans. They be taught they’ve deep or vital connections with their nemeses.

And people are simply the highlights. You’ll find loads of different similarities between these two iconic tales.

If these tales are so alike, then why do they appear radically totally different?

It’s All within the Particulars

It’s all within the particulars. Star Wars is an area opera; Harry Potter is a up to date fantasy. One takes place in a galaxy far, distant; the opposite takes place in London and a magic faculty for wizards. One story begins with its main characters as kids; the opposite story’s characters are younger adults. One was first printed as a novel; the opposite debuted as a blockbuster movie. Lots of the variations are window dressing — however these are the main points that outline a narrative, that give it tone, model, and even that means.

I don’t suppose we must always cease striving for originality, however let’s be sensible about it.

When it looks as if it’s all been performed — each plot, each character, each thought that you simply’ve ever had — take coronary heart. Transfer ahead along with your concepts, and hold remodeling the main points, hold altering the elements, till your story feels uniquely yours.


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