Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Something Old Into Something New

photo by clarita, MorgueFile.com

It has been said that there are no unique story ideas. Okay, but does that condemn most stories, then, as nothing more than rehashed, already told tales? If so, wouldn’t readers be too bored to pick up a new novel?

Sometimes writers can become infatuated with a great story idea that is less than unique, but  the initial impulse might be to shy away from developing such an idea. Is this always wise? Why not consider developing a been there done that premise into something new--a version different and hopefully special. Yes, there are those published story premises done one too many times (Did someone mention vampire romances?) On the other hand, some stories stand out as unique despite the reflection of an already done premise. Think about Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. Sometimes, a familiar story can be molded and contoured into a stand-alone work with its own merits.

How? Consider fresh characters with unique bends and twists to their back-stories, unique motivations, interesting values, and funky quirks. Or perhaps a unique setting can make a story unique. Maybe an added plot twist or different ending. How would Romeo and Juliet be different if their story was set in the year 2075, on Mars? 

What do you think? Can a less than unique story idea be tweaked to be new and improved? How might you transform something old into something new?