Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Original ideas...or not. Plus more blog love with a free book!

I wanted to do a quick post on original ideas. Or, more appropriately, how ideas are never very original. No matter how hard we try and come up with something original, there is always SOMEONE out there who has done it already. So how can we write and stand out?

One idea is to mash up several common ideas to come up with something new. Kind of like the mash-ups they do on Glee.Two completely different songs to make an original, unique performance.

So I really have no profound words of insight, but to encourage you to take your book ideas to the next level. You can take a normal book structure and make it your own. You don't have to come up with a completely original concept. Why? Cause there probably isn't going to be one. You are writing about a vampire? Well, how can you make your vampire book distinguishable from the next vampire novel? Can't tell you that answer. You need to find out on your own. Cause, if I had that answer, I sure as heck wouldn't be posting it on here. (grin).

This idea made me think of this video. (Mild language warning.) Even the great composers are repeated.

And... to further our month of Blogger love for the month of February, we are going to give away a book. 

Win a pre-order of Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys. 

You must be a follower (new or old).
Post in the comments section for a chance to win!
Results will be announced on Friday, February 11th.
Book is released on March 22, 2011

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously—and at great risk—documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.


  1. Sounds amazing. I love the idea of Lina documenting her journey through art. Especially since so much of history was told that way.

    I'd love a copy : )

  2. Nothing is original. There are only seven plot archetypes available apparently, not sure if I believe that. Maybe there's eight.

    Between Shades of Gray sounds amazing. I heard it was dystopian but it doesn't seem to be. Nonetheless, the synopsis was really good. I'd love to be counted in if it's international.

  3. I actually like reading variations of different fairy and folk tales. I heard that there were only 7 plots...never got what they were. Now I am as curious as ever to look the info up :D

  4. Wow, that book looks intense. Nice.
    For me, the story is more about voice than plot. Well... unless the plot sucks.

  5. Loved the video! LOL!

    I agree with Jolene. Ideas may not be new, but I think each writer has a unique voice. A great voice can make the most worn idea interesting and
    fresh again.

    Between Shades of Grays sounds amazing!

  6. I think the way you tell your story can make it seem unique, including the twists and turns you add to that basic story.

    Between Shades of Grey sounds like an interesting book!

  7. LOL one of my favorite videos :D Good luck everyone!!

  8. I don't think there are very many original ideas but I do think ideas can be constantly transformed. It's nice to see all the different shapes an idea can take and I think there is originality in that.

  9. This book looks great. Good luck to all who are hoping to win it (including me)! =)

    Regarding being "original", I was just having a conversation about this with a writer friend the other day. After a year of thinking I'd come up with a "new" idea, I ended up reading two books in the same week that had used the same ideas as me. Granted, the plots weren't similar at all, but a particular idea that I had thought no one had used (because I *thought* I'd researched enough) were right there in both of them.

    Luckily, I do think I've done what you mentioned, Kristal, and made the idea my own. And that's what we have to do -- make our story separate from the crowd. The ideas themselves aren't as important as what you decide to do with them. =)



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