Monday, September 28, 2009
Do you work hard to make sure the plot of your WIP doesn't copy another story? If so, it's a losing battle. There are not that many plots, and truly unique ones are almost impossible to come by.
There are resources that list all of the different types of plots, and frankly there aren't that many.
Does that mean you should avoid copying the plot of another story? I think it depends.
If it is a very recognizable story, e.g. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, etc. and you copy it too closely, you have a problem. By copying, I mean using the same plot and the same characters. For instance, if all you did was rename the characters, that's not going to work.
However, if your plot is similar, you have different and unique characters, and the characters took the story along a slightly different path, then it's a different story. Add to that your unique style of telling the story, and you have a unique, and hopefully interesting story.
The danger is not making the story different enough so that it becomes too predictable, or making it too outlandish, so that it no longer works within the realm of the plot and your characters.
That's the fine line we writers walk. We try to write stories that seem fresh, yet work to keep them within the realm of believability, and entertainment. It's not easy, or everyone would do it.