Monday, January 9, 2017
No New Ideas
I see a lot of creative minds strain to have a unique concept; everyone who has a drive to 'make' wants to release something totally new, unique, and influential upon the world. It's the very popular want to be recognized as a savior of sorts, being the shimmering diamond ring in a disgusting garbage dump.
However, in reality, that diamond ring is a mere cubic zirconia, and that garbage dump blends in perfectly fine.
When it comes to the world of writing and creativity, there are no new ideas. Every story has been told in one form or another. Every character has been used. You'd be hard pressed to find a setting that's not been overused. Take a visit to TV Tropes, a site specifically dedicated to the repeating story elements found in media; not only will it take up half your day out of sheer fascination, it'll crush any hope you had in that your concept was entirely new. From a likely very small and similar range of entries, you can form the basis of any story you could possibly dream up, down to the smallest intricacies.
What makes an idea 'creative' is how you shape it using those concepts. In and of itself, TV Tropes is an extremely useful tool for structuring a creation. By listing examples, you can see whether or not certain combinations of concepts work. You can fully understand them, and correctly subvert them. You can even see how popular titles such as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings have themselves 'stolen' ideas, turning them into something incredibly highly acclaimed. Everything from story beats to character chemistry can essentially be tested and experimented with using this Wiki, with the right mindset.
Putting a unique spin on an old idea is a tactic naturally as old as storytelling itself, and in a sense, is the plain definition of 'fiction'. It is the way to create a story, and thus, the only route to creating a story worth developing, sharing, and discovering. Try a concept, if it doesn't work, tweak a factor. If something doesn't add up, find out why and modify. It's far easier than it sounds to create an idea that - while maybe not totally 'new' - is at least unique compared to each of it's influences.
So, perhaps that beautiful ring is rather cheap and unimpressive compared to what it dreams to be; but, hey, it's still beautiful. And, to the right eye, it may very well be a diamond. Though it's makeup is impure, what it actually delivers matters far more.