I was so preoccupied for the longest time with coming up with a wonderful and unique idea. I wanted to come up with a story that would capture the hearts and minds of millions of people. I wanted to come up with something truly unique.
An embarrassingly long amount of time later, I was devastated at my inability to think of anything. If I couldn’t even come up with a creative idea, did I even have what it took to be a writer? I obviously wasn’t that creative. I was about to give up, a theme you may notice over and over in the following installments.
That is when I came across an article, I unfortunately didn’t keep the article, or many of the rest of the things I will reference. I remember one of the lines in it read, “make it your own.” I realized then, there was no such thing as a truly original idea. Whatever you come up with, someone has done it, or a version of it, or combination of that and another. For instance, the story of a serial killer running rampant through a city and challenging the lead detective has been done over and over . . .and over and over. Or, the evil terrorist with the nuke is primed to bring destruction on a major metropolitan area. What makes them different? How did the authors “make it their own?”
In the case of Tom Clancy and The Sum of All Fears, it is in his character Jack Ryan, the almost irritatingly noble approach he takes. He gives us something to aspire to, someone to look up to. In the case of JA Konrath and his Jack Daniels series, he brings more of a humorous tone to the serial killer story. Interesting turn on the usual, darker tone. The point? Each one of these successful authors bring their own voice, and their own spin to an idea that is always over done.
The key, is to take an old idea, and make it your own. Give it a new and exciting twist that makes it a brand new story, something truly magnificent.