I want to discuss the importance of fresh ideas and perspectives. As I sit here consuming coffee, I think about how when writing fantasy and science fiction, sometimes people fall into traps of repeating same thing over and over in the lather, rinse, repeat fashion. That is a shame because those folks need to play the"what if" game more often. A Ray Bradbury favorite (we miss you Ray)
Example, for years I thought the use of animal familiars in fantasy fiction was rather limited and their idea and use was not expanded very often. So I imagined a world where animals familiars play a more active role in the story and with their mages. I even included a vast array of animals in the mix, rather than focusing on the usual cat familiar or owl (sorry Belwyn you are the best owl familiar ever). My familiars are everything from owls to wolves to badgers, tiger hares, and sloths and new creations like wampus and scorpion snakes. Yes, a sloth for those that have not read my book. A slow, sleepy sloth named Buzzy that spouts wisdom and sleeps in a special tree in his sorcerer's lab.
But it developed a whole new idea on relationships and family and the use of magic.
There are only so many plot devices in any genre, but it is always possible to twist things around and find an idea that creates a new type of story. It is the characters that matter. Battling dark vs light is a common thread in fantasy-but it is how you create your world and characters that can make it shine.
Doing a vampire tale-what is the vampire is not usual blood sucker? What if the vampire feeds on life energy instead? Writing a magical fantasy? What if unicorns were evil? These are simple examples of course, but you should as a writer expand and force yourself out of the comfort zone. How can your warrior or wizard be special? What can make your world different and how will that effect your characters or story?
So expand your horizons and let your imagination roil with new ideas. And coffee-not not forget the coffee.