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Thread: Fears and doubts.

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Fears and doubts.

    I'm writing my first novel, and I often find myself thinking when writing a line or even a scene "Alright I think this is original, but what if someone else wrote it somewhere else and I just never encountered it?". Anyone had such problems and fears? It is a fiction with lots of mystery and twists so you never know really, I am thinking it's something original when I might be actually fooling myself

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Denevius's Avatar
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    If this is your first novel, there's a relatively decent chance you're emulating a writer, book, or series a bit too closely. So odds of it being original probably are quite slim. Except for the rare writer, a first novel is just a stepping stone on a long path to unique content.

    What's more important is that you finish what you start. Not competing novels that you begin is the bigger pitfall.
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
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    Unless your knowingly writing lines such as ," Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." I wouldn't worry so much. Take your time writing,but use your time wisely. Sometimes changing the order of words may help your flow. Try and "show" your words. I hope you continue with your work and don't forget, we're always here.
    " Never thought I'd get this far"

  4. #4
    I write CathleenT's Avatar
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    Yeah, really, everything's been done, and this is from someone who retells fairy tales. Avoid anything too derivative--a teen going away to a wizarding school, a ring that confers invisibility but is imbued with evil power, etc. Write your story and try to put something of yourself into it. That will make it unique.

    You can try to write a query for it, even though it's not finished, and post it in QLH. I've done that before, and it's a great way to expose potential story flaws before you're too invested in the manuscript.

    And don't skip the step of finding beta readers. My beta friends have improved my work far beyond what I could have achieved on my own.



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  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Wish I can write more about my story but until I'm absolutely certain I can give it the quality it deserves and actually finish it well, I promised myself I won't haha ...Thank you all though

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I don't think everything has been done. I'm writing a novel on a topic that has never been covered in fiction before. And, there are plenty out there. It's a matter of being creative, and doing the hard work.

  7. #7
    ....... Harlequin's Avatar
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    Everything has been done. There may be new elements, specific facts or details, unusual combinations, but at its heart, your story has a protagonist(s), a general goal, a basic story.

    Also 9 times out of 10, when someone who writes spec fic/SFF tells me something hasn't been done, I can find an example from a quick scan of the book shelves.

    Sorry if that sounds a bit rude, but I'm a little exasperated by the implication that most writers just don't try and/or aren't clever enough.
    Last edited by Harlequin; 09-13-2017 at 10:25 PM.
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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by prairie View Post
    I'm writing a novel on a topic that has never been covered in fiction before.
    So you've read all the fiction.

    caw
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  9. #9
    Polydactyl Landshrimp underpope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toothpick View Post
    Wish I can write more about my story but until I'm absolutely certain I can give it the quality it deserves and actually finish it well, I promised myself I won't haha ...Thank you all though
    Good luck!

    Personally, I'm pretty sure that both of my WIPs have elements that already exist in fiction. I wrote a wonderful short story, then found that Daryl Gregory had written another story with exactly the same theme and nearly the same premise, and done it better than me. :P


    Quote Originally Posted by prairie View Post
    I'm writing a novel on a topic that has never been covered in fiction before.
    Uh... I doubt that.
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  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Felix's Avatar
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    If it's true that there are no new great ideas, then it's also true that there must be new great ways to execute them - otherwise, we'd be sitting around campfires telling stories... oh, wait.

    I find that whenever I task my poor brain with something, it tries to get out of it but coming up with all kinds of excuses. Just keep going. You can always edit later.
    When I'm too tired for words, I Instagram. Yes, girls can like whiskey and wrenches.

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by prairie View Post
    I don't think everything has been done. I'm writing a novel on a topic that has never been covered in fiction before. And, there are plenty out there. It's a matter of being creative, and doing the hard work.
    Can you share with us a bit about it, you don't have to spoil anything.. also I hope you announce it once you finish

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
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    It is natural to be full of fear and self-doubt as you write your first novel. And it could very very well be possible that some of your lines and scenes are derivative--but that is secondary. What is important right now is to finish it, let it cool, and get back to editing it. As you write and read more, and once your novel goes out to beta readers, any 'un-original' bits will get weeded out, or transformed.

    Invite your fear to sit on a chair beside you and not interfere with your writing right now. Once you begin editing, the fear/ self-doubt can actually be helpful-- you will check everything out, and end up with a much better novel.

    All the best with your writing.

  13. #13
    figuring it all out Gonzo Jack's Avatar
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    Here's a more literal take on the question. I sometimes come up with a great sentence and wonder if it's original or whether I've recalled it from way back, source forgotten. In that case I google it and damn, it can be a line from an old film or a quote from a novel. Of course it's harder to search for the same plot point on google but maybe it works as well.

    I would think that most topics have been covered before and just repackaged differently. Even great scientific inventions are based on what has come beforehand, followed by a leap. Or as Newton said, from sitting on the shoulders of giants.

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Acacia & Gonzo thank you both, awesome advices ^_^

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW LeftyLucy's Avatar
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    There is nothing new under the sun. Execution is everything. Helen Fielding had success with a story inspired by Jane Austen. Jane Austen was inspired by Frances Burney. And so on. Execute it with excellence - that's what matters.

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW
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    So glad you found it helpful. As writers we are individuals, but we're also quite similar in some ways--we have similar enemies in terms of self-doubt and fear. Rooting for you here.

  17. #17
    Not as sweet as you think Aggy B.'s Avatar
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    So, at some point there was someone who came up with the very first knock-knock joke. Someone at some point wrote the very first mystery. But how many thousands of years have humans been around telling stories and eventually writing them down? It is not impossible that you might still stumble upon something that has never been told before, but the chances are ridiculously small at this point.

    However, we still love to listen to and read stories. Even if it is vaguely like something else. In fact, chances are if it's like something else that we like we'll be even more interested. And, while there may come a point where not only are there no new stories to tell but all the possible variations ever have already been told, but I don't think that's happening anytime soon.

    Every storyteller brings something slightly different to the table in terms of experience and perspective and language and goals. And, on a sentence level, certain things sound better to us. (This is why songs written in the key of D Major are so prevalent - not only is it a median range, but it sounds good to us.) It is natural to mimic those things which stick with us. (And, unless you are producing something verbatim, that's not really a problem.)

    Best of luck with your book.
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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Acacia and Aggy thank you both super much and best of luck to both of you also ^_^

  19. #19
    figuring it all out Ms.Pencila's Avatar
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    Seconding the excellent advice above (being critical of your work after you've completed it and let it sit a bit is a good thing, execution is the main distinction, etc)- you mentioned the fear that you've just never heard of the idea. The possibility that you're the only person who hasn't heard of it is also small- there may very well be an audience that you are more qualified to reach (perhaps more in am artisitc sense than technical sense, but still) that no one else has quite the same approach to. Just a thought.
    Last edited by Ms.Pencila; 09-27-2017 at 10:08 PM.
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  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Don't be discouraged. There is genius in everyone and anyone telling you different has their own issues. If you believe you have a voice, then share it. And don't stop. Ever.

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