My guide will mainly be referring to fiction in terms of how to be original because that is mainly what I write. Still, feel free to try using any mentioned tips or ideas for non-fiction.
Is it possible to be original in today’s world of self-publishing, blogs, fiction, fan-fiction sites, and e-books? The answer is yes, but how hard it is depends on how original you want to be; the digital age has made it easy to write and put it out for all to see, while also making note of everything else that has been produced so far.
But fear not. The first step should be finding where your idea fits in the literary world. What genre is it? And what medium (example: short stories or novels) are you writing in? Then do a quick Google search of your idea and see what comes up. The question of how original you want to be comes up again. Completely? Slightly? If something similar pops up, discard this idea and think of something else. If you’re okay with some similarities, but not too many, move to the next paragraph.
Because similarities are bound to happen; again, watch for too many. Take A Song of Ice and Fire - better known to the public as Game of Thrones - or The Hunger Games for example. They have similarities with each other, but only a few, as well as with other stories, both in their genres and outside of it. They are both considered original stories in their own right, because their authors aren’t copying anyone else. And the same is likely true about your idea, because if you do a good job writing it, then you’ll have carved your own place in the literary world - even if it is similar to existing stories.
That is perfectly fine; there are plenty of enjoyable but similar stories out there. If you strive for originality, no one can fault you. If something is bothering you, try something unexpected or rewrite your original idea. Actually writing out an idea is hard enough.
There is plenty of space in the world of literature and it is up to you to find where you fit in.
Photo Credit: QuotationOf
Derek Glew is a student at Algonquin College in the Professional Writing program. He aspires to be a professional fiction writer, likes to play video games both new and old, and loves a good story in any form of media. A bit of an introverted dreamer, he hopes to be published some day.