I Don’t Have An Original Idea

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An author I was helping told me this in the very beginning.

Every idea I have has already been taken.

The problem is, they were right. Coming up with an original idea is extremely tough, in fact, it may be impossible.

Formulating an idea that no one has ever written about, wrote a song around or made a movie or play from may be unattainable. Yet, when I checked here to see how many books had been published this year, the number was 909,909. Then I refreshed the page and it was 909,911! In the time it took me to refresh the page three times, five books had been published! Plus, regardless of what my radio plays, there are millions of songs sung all about different things. (Unless it’s in the Country genre, then it’s about trucks, beer and girls.)

Just a quick look at my book The Search, reveals what a fraud I am. My book is about a crook who finds redemption. Sound familiar? Les Miserables is the same story. A crook who finds redemption with himself and others. And, to make matters worse, the people around the crook in my story offer their own insights into life, just like the 150 year old classic from Victor Hugo.

The story is 150 years old! Or is it?

In a much older book there is a story of a thief who steals everything from his own brother, who forgives him after twenty years. The thief becomes the leader of a nation. The nation of Israel. So Le Miserables was actually stolen from the story of Jacob in the Bible, right?

But everyone knows the story of Jacob from the Bible. How did Victor Hugo rip off such a famous story, repackage it and sell it countless times? We love the story so much that we turned it into a Broadway play, then a really good movie with Liam Neeson, then a crummy movie/musical with Hugh Jackman.

Here is why. The reason this theme, or archetype, and most others are used over and over is because we like it. We like watching people grow into better people. We like watching the hometown boy beat the odds. We like watching the ugly duckling find her beauty. We want to know how to do something better than we are doing it now. But what we really like is a different perspective on the story.

We want to watch the story happen from a different point of view. Your point of view.

There is only one original book. Gutenberg invented the book in 1455 when he printed the Bible. Since then, a stack of papers, bound in a cover with a story on the paper is not original, neither are most of the stories. What is original is the perspective.

Don’t wait to add your point of view. The world doesn’t need an original theme, it needs your take on the theme, your experience, your opinion and your perspective.

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