Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Nothing New under the Sun

Did cubism originate with Picasso?  Did short, pithy poems originate with Emily Dickinson?  Did vampire stories originate with Stephenie Meyer?  (Okay, you knew I couldn't resist that one.)



The truth is something no artist wants to hear: there really is nothing new under the sun.  Yes, cubism was NEW!  But I gotta think there might be some cave art somewhere that looks a little cubey.  Surely there were short, pithy poems before E.D. (Viking runes, anyone?).  And vampires...well, you know they've been around awhile.

So really what we do as writers, painters or creators is imitate stuff around us.  In fact, the best art does that.  Even sci-fi, you ask?  Yes, especially sci-fi.  You've got to keep it grounded in reality, even if the plot/art/song is fantastical in many ways.  As humans, we have to relate.  After all, we don't LIVE on Neptune (I hope you don't!), so it's kind of hard to write about Neptune without including human references, if only emotions exclusive to humans.

Case in point--I started another novel and was shocked, yes SHOCKED, to see that someone else writing a novel was using my main character's first name. Could I still use it in my book?  Of course.  Will I?  Probably, unless her M.C. also has the same last name as my character.  Then it's time to shore up the trenches and rethink things.

The comforting thing is that, even though creators are reflecting life as they know it, they're putting it together in new, inimitable ways.  Because each of us is unique!  There will never be another writer like Emily Dickinson, though many may try. 




Nor will there be another Stephenie Meyer, though MANY MORE may try...



Point is, we have to keep creating, even though our particular yellow dwarf sun shines on us all, and has done so since the beginning of mankind.  We just need to reflect those beams with our own particular slant.









12 comments:

TC Avey said...

Great post! Keep on writing, the world is waiting for you!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Thanks, TC--you too!

Stephen Tremp said...

Hi Heather, first time visitor. Great to meet you. True, nothing is new under the sun. A writer has to look for new fresh twists to keep the reader engaged. I despise cookie cutter stories. Have a Happy New Year!

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Nice to meet you, too, Stephen. Yes, I like to have a little mystery with my story...after growing up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie, I figure out so many shows/plotlines way too early. So I don't care for cookie-cutter, either!

LTM said...

Ah, this is so true. After I finished Debut Novel back in 2010, I was shocked... Shocked! To read a book with many of the same character types. How had this happened??? The good news is even if there are similarities, we all put our special spin on it. Best with the book and in the new year!

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Sarah Allen said...

Love this! C. S. Lewis said something to the effect of, if we try to be original we will always fail. But if we just tell the honest truth, be as open with ourselves as we can, we will be original without even realizing it.

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Cool quote, Sarah! And LTM, yes, I hate it when it seems my idea/name/title has been stolen, or when I see a movie that mirrors my ideas. All the best to you all in the new year, too!

Catherine Denton said...

You put this so well! Loving this post.
Catherine Denton

Jessica Salyer said...

You are so right. Just when I think I have an original idea... I see it somewhere else. Doesn't stop me though. I just put my own twist on it. :)

Kari Marie White said...

Very True! Great post.

Thanks for stopping by my blog during the Deja Vu fest. I'm a bit belated in getting around, but I'm so glad I stopped by.

You gave me just the inspiration I needed to hear today.

Kari

Jill said...

True what you say. I came here off of Mike Duran's site, so I'll tell you, for the record, it took me a while to figure out the whole gravatar thing, too. Since I'm back blogging again, I'll look forward to your first post of the new year!