Eureka, 42, and Other Life-Changing Revelations
Ok, so my life-changing moment was not in a bathtub with a golden crown. Althought, come to think of it, it was pretty life-changing to realize that the few pounds I’d hoped to hide still make that water mark higher (damn chemistry…). And no, I realize 42 is not the answer to the universe, but it’s pretty close.
My revelation came in the form of a very depressing epiphany: There is nothing new under the sun. Yep! I said it. Every single thing that has ever been written, acted, said, or thought has been done somewhere else by someone else. Now, before you grab your torch and pitchfork, let me explain why this was life-changing. You see, for the past few weeks as I struggled fruitlessly on re-writes I had been searching for that “it” factor. You know, the one that is always just around the corner, or just on the tip of your tongue, or whatever. Then it hit me. No matter what I did, my book would be no different than any other book out there. I mean, honestly, what book doesn’t have romance and action and a hero (or nowadays a heroine) and a quest. It’s been around for centuries! There’s the Epic of Gilgamesh, clashing with the gods over humanity. There’s the Bible and its multitude of tales. There’s Homer’s works, and all the knock-off Renaissance writers who followed. Even Twilight copies something, namely The Vampire Diaries*. Ok, ok, so I’m a fan of the show (and I’m a sinner ‘cuz I haven’t read the books…yet). But still, it had to be said.
There is nothing new out there.
So here I was, little old me, worrying and toiling and struggling to find my unique “it” factor. I didn’t want my book to be like all the others. I didn’t want predictable. But, really, that’s all there was. No one’s interested in a book with no love interest. No one cares if there’s no action. No…the real unique factor is how you take what’s been said before and turn it into your own. That’s how epics like Paradise Lost and Twilight are born: the writers are inspired by an idea and run with it. (See? I told you it wasn’t as gloomy as it sounded.)
There, my friends, lies the beauty in writing. Everything has been done before. Romances will blossom, betrayal will happen. Heroes will rise, and heroines will fall. That is, in essence, what makes a story work. It is the skeleton. The flesh and blood are what make it yours. Mine just happens to be coated in black skin with florescent green tattoos and a mean sense of humor. What’s yours?
*Yes, yes…I know…the picture is upsetting. But you have to admit, sparkling vs. veins-sticking-out-of-face? Much more…”badass.” 🙂