Friday, August 28, 2009


As usual, the inspiration for this post came from somewhere other than the depths of my - sometimes - depraved mind. So, without further adieu . . . Lady Glamis' Thursday post at The Literary Lab about stones and Davin's post about where is originality found are the inspiration for this post.

Okay, go click on the links, read the posts, and then hurry back here to immerse yourself in my brilliance! Yes, I'm a bit snarky as I'm writing this post. It happens from time to time.

The whole thing about originality is . . .that it doesn't exist any longer. What? OMG, has he been hitting the margaritas already? No! But at 7:30 PM Central Time tonight, all bets are off!

We all know (or should) that every single idea out there has been done before. It is not the idea that matters, but the execution of the idea in a brilliant fashion that matters.

Now, after reading Lady Glamis' post about stones I posed the following question:

If there are no longer original ideas, then aren't the ideas from our touchstones just copies of earlier ideas that generate from the earliest beginnings of ideas?

Lady Glamis' response:

I believe they are, in a sense, but I also firmly believe that everything we internalize and write from our heart is truly our own. Nobody else could write it that way. Nobody else has our voice. To me, it all feels like a pearl getting bigger and bigger inside the shell - we are all growing and learning from each other.

So, even though there are no original ideas any longer, there is the ability to reshape those original ideas into brilliant ideas from our own perspective.

My second question was: Art - whether paintings, pictures, books, sculpture, whatever - is meant to evoke an emotional response. Isn't creativity an emotional response? Isn't the forming of an idea, and making it brilliant in our own right, just part of the creative process?

And, being the generous person that I am, I answered my own question . . . If that theory is correct, then every book we read, every piece of art, every poem, song, whatever, are all touchstones . . . well, at least in my little world!

The world around me, is my inspiration, whether it's a lone man on the dance floor dancing like nobody is watching, or the words of a poem that light the fire of inspiration in my brain and cause me to grab the pen and paper and begin scribbling out ideas, or the sight of a lone deer wandering through the developed backyards of society where once there were only trees, or any number of things.

The limits to our originality, our shaping of an idea into something brilliant, are, in my opinion, infinite.


Oh, a few other things . . .

. . . I haven't forgotten about the rest of the followers and posting your names and blogs. It's very time consuming, and I just haven't had the greatest amount of time available lately. I haven't forgotten and you will get your moment of glory on this blog. : )

. . .Revision in Progress is going well, and I'm nearing the end of the manuscript and getting closer to my word count. I have a feeling I'll have to make another pass through the entire manuscript to really narrow down the count. Ah, the joys, the joys, the joys of eliminating words!

Have a great Friday (and weekend)!!


Angie Ledbetter said...

Yep, nothing new under the sun, but thankfully, we can use unique perspectives, twists and turns to turn out a fresh project.

Happy weekend to you.

Lady Glamis said...

Great post Scott! And I really appreciate your questions and thoughts that you leave on my blog and the Literary Lab.

Angie has a great point about perspective. I think originality has a lot to do with our own perspective, and our reader's. It's just how we present it all and take things in. One we have control over, the other not so much. It's a scary concept. Hah.

Scott said...

I do think the writer's perspective, their unique twist on an idea, is the key to brilliant writing. It's a matter of taking all that we know and infusing that knowledge into the written word with a unique perspective so that an old idea suddenly appears fresh. I guess it's kind of like using Orange Glow on the tired hardwood floor to make it shine once more.


ElanaJ said...

You are right. I think the ideas are limited, but the way we express them creatively is not. Great post!

My verification word: MANgenta! LOLOLOLOLOL!

Robyn Campbell said...

Hey Scott, you can still register for the Muse conference as long as the link is still up and it is. So get to it!

As to your post, yes every idea has been done and done some more. And you're right, it is HOW you do it that makes it fresh and truly yours.

I had a discussion with a writer at an old critique group of mine. She was trying to tell me my story had been done A LOT. The one about the two girls lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If I had listened to her, I never would have written it. It is mine, because I put such a fresh perspective on it.

Just my two cents. Not worth even that. :) Have a safe and happy weekend, my friend. BTW, I'm going to look you up on facebook. :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Scott, thought this quote might make you see that all through the ages writers have thought about this.

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

C.S. Lewis :)

Scott said...

Robyn - if I only had that quote, I could have had a much shorter post. Thanks for sharing!

Kim Smith said...

Great post, Scott.

Experience taints everything, shaping our reality. I think your comment about the brilliant writing is right on. We've got to be brave enough to face that reality, good or bad, and create.