From Chronicle to Supernatural: Everything has been done before

Returning to my current project that I so-0ften mention, I’d like to speak briefly about the concept of originality and uniqueness. While I’ve decided that Mind Over Matter – The Binding of Hugo and Multiple Occupancy – Baptism of Fire do, in fact, work combined, I’m yet to develop them to that stage. So as it stands, I’m currently working on two project files, even if I intend to ultimately merge them, which is easier than I expected. As such, I’ve been considering recently the two premises I have: one is about a character with telekinesis, and the other is about a group that hunts supernatural beings. So it’s basically Chronicle and Supernatural – why should I bother developing these projects, when I know that I’ve been inspired by larger works?

The reason is that everything can be compared to another work if you really want to find those links. Humans are very good at finding confirmation for our own preconceptions, and as such, we’ll always be able to find a common link between two works if we convince ourselves that such a link exists. This is how gamblers and spiritualists think, it’s in our nature. Which means we have reasonable doubt that the link is tenuouous, and therefore not substantial enough to seriously consider when developing a story.

But more importantly – the comparison is almost always made between the content of the works, and completely ignores context. Context is another thing which is ignored as a result of our ability to confirm whatever we’ve decided is true. Gamblers ignore the context of chance and luck in order to believe that they’re special, and spiritualists will ignore the possibility of coincidence in order to convince themselves that they’re favoured by the universe. To be a writer is to doubt the self, and doubt the self’s ability. Thus, it follows that, when finding a link between the content of our work and another, we’ll ignore the context of what makes each work unique amongsts itself, in order to convince ourselves that we shouldn’t bother. Humans are naturally conservative creatures, and will as such try to find reasons not to do something. When writing anything, what must be remembered is the context. What’s the context?

That a content premise is just a starting point. It’s said that there are only so many stories, and that idea might well be accurate. Which is why, when creating a story, we’ll connect it to one of the pre-existing ideas in order to creatively guide us toward something. But this then leads to use thinking of other works that were written from that idea, which makes us consider the work we’re developing to be pointless due to the existence of those earlier works. But a premise is only a style, not the content itself. We’ll often think that content is the premise because at some we find ourselves describing to other people what a story is “about”. This is because people need premises to become interested, even if the reason that they continue to be interested is for the characters. Characters are formed from our experiences in the world. Characters are no less the equivelant of our lives, and how we express what that’s meant to us. Which means that nothing anyone writes can ever be the same as something else. That’s the context of the content, and ignoring that context is to ignore why we write.


Author: the Purple Prose Mage

I'm not Batman, but I wish that I were.

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