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News, Views & Clues... to Writing Success


5 Easy Ways to be More Original

Rob Parnell

Original Thinking

People always say they want originality.

Whether this is actually true or not is debatable. But many people, especially in the arts and in the media, say it anyway - like a mantra.

If you're any kind of artist you'll know that what people actually want is the SAME but DIFFERENT - which, at a stretch, could be regarded as original... it depends on your point of view.

Anyway, that opinion aside, how do you become more original - in your thinking, your writing and your overall self expression?

Here's some tips:

1. Know Your Stuff - and Everybody Else's

Read more, study more, take in everything and process it. Think about it, mull over the facts and the fiction and make your own conclusions.

It's too easy to just accept what you read. Not everyone out there is an expert. Don't take everything you absorb as gospel, question it. Dig around the subjects that interest you for links and connections - and discrepancies.

Know what other people have to say about stuff - and avoid doing the same, having the same opinions or taking the same stance.

Be a lateral thinker. Be obtuse if necessary. At least be interesting!

2. Do Google Searches on Your Ideas

This can often be a particularly depressing exercise - but do it anyway. There's little point in repeating...

Pretty much anything you've ever thought - no matter how revelatory and inspiring it may be to you - has most likely been thought and recorded in some form before.

It's a type of synchronicity. A good idea occurs to many people at the same time. (Ask any publisher!)

See how others have explored your idea. Make a conscious effort to come at issues from a new angle. Bring the issues up to date, make them your own, hone them into new ideas.

3. Ask Yourself - Am I Exploring New Ground Here? 

Writers especially are often accused of continually writing the same book. Ask yourself whether you're not a victim of the same modus operandi.

Deliberately set out to explore new questions and offer new conclusions. Find new ways of expressing cliche ideas.

This is what Hollywood calls 'development'. Take your ideas and try to think of the myriad different ways there are of expressing them. Try to find more intriguing angles.

Don't just accept the first idea that occurs to you- it's usually not the most inspired. Develop it - try alternatives and see where they lead you.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR:Crime Fiction Masterclass

4. Am I Being Truly Honest?

Apparent originality often comes from uniqueness of perspective.

There's no point having a generic attitude that is echoed by a million other people. Ideas become cliche because people don't question the wisdom within the words - or indeed if the wisdom is even there.

People want to know about your own unique perspective - especially if you're some kind of genuine expert - with integrity.

Nobody gets respect for simply repeating the wisdom of others.

Go deep into your own mind. What do you really think? How is that view shaped by who you are?

Don't be afraid to go against the grain and state an opinion that you believe in - even when others might regard you as a little 'off'. The most profound and life changing ideas are often ridiculed at first. 

5. Inject HEART

Ask yourself: will anyone care?

Sometimes this is a hard question to answer, especially the more objective you try to be. Think for too long on this and you'll most likely never put pen to paper again!

So what does make people care?

Not just facts and information, not just a story or anecdote. Not even a grand painting or song or sculpture or a novel.

None of these things work without 'heart'.

That little something extra that displays a tacit understanding of humanity.

Originality is not always in the details - but it is apparent in the whole, the entirety of a creation.

Don't just work on the things you create, work on yourself too.

The genius of the Mona Lisa, for instance, is not just in the fact that it's a great portrait - there are millions of those. What shines from the Mona Lisa is Leonardo: his implicit understanding of the world and the people in it.

If in doubt, make people care through providing benefit, a new perspective or by pushing the envelope just a little bit further.

And don't be afraid to truly be yourself. Because you're unique - and so to express yourself with complete honesty, integrity and humility is to tap into the divine.

And that's original!

Keep Writing!

 rob at home

Rob Parnell
The Easy Way to Write


"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." Albert Einstein

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Article: "Crime Pays - for Fiction Authors"

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