Giving Those Old Ideas a New Spin

Another way to inject some originality into your work if you can’t seem to think of anything is as the title suggests: Try to give whatever you want to write a new spin. Take an old idea, or several, and try using them in a different way. Examples of using older stories are: The Invisible Man as a comedy, the whale hunt of Moby Dick taking place in space, or Vampires and Werewolves vs Aliens. Just remember to use only the basic idea or premise, as otherwise you’ll end up with too many similarities and be regarded as parodying an existing story.

A good example of this is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Here, an existing work is altered to make a fairly popular parody that even credits the original story’s author as co-author. But while parody is all well and good for true originality, try to only use elements and basic premises from existing stories in your own.

After all, a story can be original even if the material it’s based on isn’t; just remember not use too much of the material. It will be good writing and storytelling that makes or breaks a story - not the concept, theme, or plot which is what will be attracting readers to your story. You can use those things to determine what genre your story fits in. You’d be surprised just how big a genre can be and where your story can fit within it. And who might buy your story, as publishers can be picky about the kind of story they want.

If you don’t wish to use well-known material with a twist as the base of your story, then perhaps try using and focusing on elements of stories that normally aren’t spared more than a few seconds.  The TV show Grimm does this by using creatures of legend that are used in many films and games as enemies and the tales surrounding them as the central aspect of the show. As in, not only do these creatures still exist, they live among us unseen except by a few with a unique ability and their habits correspond with those tales and myths.

Maybe just try mixing genres to see what you can come up with, or perhaps try the TV tropes Story Generator, or this Story Generator here for several at once.

Photo Credit: AZ QUOTES

Derek Glew

Derek Glew is a student at Algonquin College and is in the Professional Writing program. 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 someday.

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