Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Recycling Magic

There are so many old themes in fantasy & science fiction that are done over and over-King Arthur scenarios, monsters & bad guys that are dead but revive or come back (horror flicks are guilty of this to point of stupidity), Tolkien "inspired" tales, and vampire forbidden love.  The list goes on and on-I am just giving a few examples.  It does get a bit old.  But it is also encouraged for some reason, as though an original spark is something to be feared and therefore avoided.
The point is-let's be original sometimes.  You can put an original spin on a classic theme and make it work.  David Eddings mastered that with two of my favorite series -The Belargiad and the Mallorean.  When you break it down, the tale is very much like a King Arthur & the sword in the stone kind of thing.  But he made it better and more interesting.  He set it on a secondary world with new characters and races and made it wonderful and original.   Now I am not sure if that is what he actually had in mind, but theme is there-only better. 
An English Professor once told me there are only 9 original plot ideas in the universe and you need to work to make them fresh and innovative.  You have to figure out what makes your story or character special and gives that old worn out plot a sparkly shine.
It is easy to follow the current trends and do the same thing over and over, especially since everyone tells you that is what everyone wants.   The results of this are evident-all you have to do is look at the book shelves in teen/young adult fantasy aisle in any bookstore and you see the same thing over and over-vampire love stories and urban witches with cool tattoos.  This is what the literary world wants.
I say bulls*#%! .

you heard me
Current trends are just that-current.  The flavor of the moment.  They are not always the solid winners and will not always remain showcased.  If that were the case-so many books and movies would never have been successful.  Harry Potter would never have been a best selling series of books and movies,  No one wanted Star Wars or Star Trek when they were conceived-look at the impact those two franchises have had for decades!  Steampunk would not be gaining steam (yes-I punned) You must to stay true to your ideas- even if those around you tell you different.  Do not be a pod person.  Follow your own literary bliss.  How you develop the story and characters is up to you and that is what will make it original in its own right-and better.
That is the difference between a dull recycled story and a new adventure worthy of a good read or watch.   So mark it with your own imaginative flare and do it!   

Verna McKinnon


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