|Posted by nsotzek on June 28, 2012 at 12:30 AM|
I was recently proposed with the idea of originality, and it got me thinking. What is originality? What makes something unique? I've discovered that the two words are very different.
I can't tell you the number of times I open a book, or start a movie, and within ten minutes I know the entire cycle of the book/movie, and how it will end. To me, that screams of something not being original. Or I'm psychic.
Then I had to stop for a minute, and take a look at my own books. I thought that writing science-fiction would give me an edge, since, y'know, that makes it a bit original on its own. But is it? The concept of robots isn't new. Sports definitely aren't new. A book about a team falling apart certainly isn't new (although most end happily with a strong finish). A book with a ex-couple not getting along isn't new either. All of it combined, and how I deal with it is new and unique, though. AIMs are definitely a new concept. The sport Scanning is a new concept. The ex-couple still isn't new, but as Meatloaf said: "two out of three ain't bad."
I think that's the difference between original and unique. It's how the concepts are dealt with within a specific setting. Is a book about a murder original? No. Is a book about a murder narrated by the murdered person unique? Definitely, and that's exactly what Alice Sebold did in The Lovely Bones (which is an amazing book, by the way).
What makes a book special is not necessarily the idea, or concept. Its uniqueness comes from how the author deals with the concept. Of course, that's just my opinion.