On Being Original…

“That’s what she said.” You know you’ve heard it, or said it. The classic Michael Scott line from the hit show, The Office. It’s unbelievably unoriginal when you hear someone say it, but always hilarious.

I’ve had this blog post brewing for quite some time, unlike my coffee which brews fast and furious in my Keurig.

Have you ever heard: ‘How is your plot original?’ ‘Why is this different from ____?’ ‘That is SO overdone.’ <eye roll> ‘This character is exactly like ____. ‘

Hang on…stay with me, just a few more questions…

Have you ever heard of Charles Dickens or William Shakespeare? How about classic Greek tragedies like Medea and Oedipus Rex? J.R.R. Tolkien? C.S. Lewis? Bram Stoker? Mary Shelley? Anne Rice?

I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘Um, yeah, of course I have.’ Why am I asking such silly questions? I mention these famous authors/playwrights because most people have read their books or seen plays and movies depicting their work. In fact, there are many brilliant writers who have been inspired by these famous authors. Moreover, every novel I pick up reveals at least in part, some element(s) of the greats. It’s part of our heritage, it’s what we have been exposed to, it’s what we study in school, and its most importantly, what shapes us into writers of today.

A year ago  I finished The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. It’s an excellent young adult read. I highly recommend it, if you haven’t read it already. In fact, go read it right now before you continue reading this post. Where have you been hiding? (SPOILER ALERT) Towards the end of the first book I was struck by a beautiful scene in which the two main characters clasp hands and choose to either win the Hunger Games together or commit suicide by eating deadly berries.  They are granted a reprieve, and winners of the Hunger Games.

I love William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It’s a great love story and tragedy. The raw emotion I felt after reading this scene in The Hunger Games is a tribute to that. It reminded me of how much frustration  I felt when Romeo and Juliet couldn’t survive their demise.  They were so close!  Suzanne Collins gave me the happy ending I wanted. Thank you. I already loved The Hunger Games, and that scene just tipped it over. Fantastic. This is one example of how our experiences i