Have you ever spent time with art-minded intellectuals who wax snobbish about the primacy of originality? For some people, anything that is not pushing the boundaries is pathetic because it is “derivative,” “vanilla,” and “insipid.”
I get where these people are coming from, I think. Our human nature is to seek the next new thing, to the point of distractibility – “squirrel!” And presumably we gain perspective by looking at ourselves and the world from unique perspectives. Finding new angles means charting new territory, right?
Still, it’s annoying.
I believe that it’s more important to connect with many readers with a story from the heart than it is to impress the cognoscenti by focusing on novelty and abstraction. And I believe that we can write good stories by studying the story structure that has served storytellers well for ages. For this I recommend Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey. Exploring the idea that all stories and even life itself follow a sort of universal structure I will leave for another post, because I think there’s another way to study story structure and to grow as a writer, and that is by imitation.
Writer, reader, runner, teacher, father, infp, huffleclaw.