Saturday, April 30, 2011

On Originality

I wrote before about my having some concern that I value originality in what I read and couldn't seem to come up with any in what I write. Chas pooh-poohed on this, and rightfully so. Since then, I really have been trying to forget all these rules about writing I've imposed on myself and just write. I figured I could worry later about whether or not I've managed anything original and, even if I haven't, at least see if it was still worth reading.

A few days ago, I was off looking for a quote by CS Lewis, and I stumbled upon this gem (also from Lewis):

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

I've been mulling that over ever since. What do I want to tell the truth about? What is that central and that important in the story that's in my head? I think I have an answer and, to be honest, it kind of surprises me. I haven't got it all neatly summarized in some pithy little saying, but it has to do with relationships and everyone pulling together as a team. It has to do with trust and sacrifice. The part of me that can relate everything to WoW is crowing about how I basically want to write a book about pulling together as a raid team.

And, yes, any truth I might have about deep friendships or teamwork will not be new and will have been told many times before. I'm okay with that.

In which I am parenthetical  

The aforementioned romance that has captured my writing attention lately (now that I've graciously extended myself permission to work on whatever has my interest and not to feel guilty that I can't just sit down and focus on one thing) is a Pride and Prejudice fanfic. (I've also decided I don't care if other people look down on fanfic; I enjoy it and it is so much fun to ask all the "what if" questions and go from there.) I've been posting it over at, and have been flatly astounded at how well it has been received so far.

One of the things that keeps coming up in reviews is that my take on it is "new." Isn't that funny? I certainly hadn't set out to try to do something original in the fanfic 'verse (and didn't think it was possible, frankly, given the sheer amount of other fanfic out there for Pride and Prejudice). At the risk of sounding like a certain author who writes about sparkling vampires, I simply had a dream one night and it was with me the next morning. I couldn't help turning it over and over in my head, coming up with reasons for why the things that happened in the dream took place as they did.

Next thing you know, I realized it would fit Pride and Prejudice very neatly and all I would have to do would be to give Darcy a sort of Second Sight and set it in an era when women were just beginning to enter the work force.

In and of itself, nothing in there is original or new. But it does seem to be resonating pretty well with some people and they are seeing it as being such.

And I am having such a whale of a time writing it that I want to try to get my fourth chapter finished and proofed and published.

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Constructive criticism welcome. However, I am not looking to have anyone point out every grammatical error. I know they exist and I just can't care about those while trying to write.