Monday, January 25, 2010

Be Careful What Ideas You Use In Your Stories

Now, before I even get going here, I want to again state that I am not a believer that "there are no new stories out there." Yes there are and it is up to you as a writer to find it. With that said, I do want to address a situation I have seen more and more in submissions during the last 6 months. Writers that simply tell someone else's story but change the names and the location. This simply doesn't work with me.

Let me explain. If I pick up your story and the first thing that goes through my mind is a recent movie or some book I have read in the past, then we are heading in the wrong direction. This is especially the case when authors pretty much keep the same storyline and run with it. In their head, they might believe that they are working with a similar "theme" but this is far from the case. This is a similar plot.

Let's try it this way... This is a story about a woman during the Regency period. She is the youngest of three sisters and yet the prettiest and the most firtatious. She attends parties at the other homes of the Ton and is constantly flirting and stealing the guys from the other women. The problem though is that she is madly in love with the one man in the Ton she could never have. He is honorable and already engaged.... Now to make a long story short... she marries a lot of other guys for the single purpose of advancing herself in society, but is still madly in love with the one man she can't have. There is one man, the Rake of the Ton that is pursuing her. They are perfect together, but she can't see it.... O.K. You get the idea.

While Gone With The Wind is a great story, we can't copy the plot line. We can find things in the story that might work in yours (for example she can dance with a scandolous Rake during a ball and cause a scandal) but that is as far as you can go.

Using similar themes is fine (Cinderella - rags to riches story; Beauty and the Beast - falling for someone for who they are not what they look like; etc.) Just don't copy the plot.

Simply put, Gone With The Wind, Scarlett Pimpernel, Master and Commander, Pirates of the Carribean - all of these are good because of what they do. These are not templates for a cheap knock off.

Let's have a great week.


No comments:

Post a Comment