by Mindy McGinnis
It took me a long time to admit that I'm really not that creative.
And guess what? Neither are you.
I read. A lot. It's kind of my job. A necessary by-blow of this has been that I've realized the old adage that all the stories have been told is... true. I can't tell you how many times I've opened up boxes of books (Yay!) only to glance at the back-cover material and realize it's been done before. A running mental commentary might run something like this (this isn't referencing any actual books, FYI, so don't go racking your brains trying to figure out what I'm referring to):
Okay, so this one is Hunger Games but set in Bulgaria and using cats.
Oh look! Turner & Hooch but with a dinosaur.
Hey! Romeo & Juliet but with a crustacean and a pearl hunter.
You get the idea. But here's the thing... the Romeo & Juliet title featuring the really attractive crustacean might have the zippiest dialogue this side of the Pacific, and it just might bring me to tears a lot faster than angsty Italian pre-teens with excellent wardrobes quaffing poison.
We've all been in love, we've all suffered loss. We all continue to learn from others and seeing the world through a pair of eyes that we weren't born with will always be a useful experience, even if the plot isn't the brightest star that ever rolled itself up into a gas ball.
Every time Mindy-Brain says, "Hey! I've got an idea!" I have to ask Mindy-Brain how it's been done before (not IF!), and how I can do it differently, give it the Mindy-Spin and make it Mindy's-Story instead of, Bogus! It's Jurassic Park with manic Dodo birds!
Always remember that your job as a writer isn't necessarily to come up with something that has never, ever been done, but to find a way to tell it again - your way.