Monday, October 4, 2010

Originality

While perusing through a critique forum, I found a manuscript with the exact opening line as my current WIP.  It was a shocking moment, but not too shocking.  The line used was not mine at all. It was a phrase I saw on a bumper sticker when I was...well very young. And so this got me thinking. If by chance two unknowns used the same lines, how many others used something similar, or worse, the exact same one? How many times has the reader seen those same lines?

I've read books where author has quoted other authors works, or songs, or poems, citing the original work, of course, but if we are trying to catch an agents or readers attention as newbies this technique may be just to risky.   Especially in the first line. It lacks originality.

I'm not too disappointed in changing my WIP. I've already changed my beginning three times. I'm just glad I ran across this other manuscript and learned from it.

Would you care to share something you've learned that didn't come out of a text book?

4 comments:

  1. Gosh, I've learned so much from just living. I'll refer to writing fortitude. Since I've been involved in a writing community, I've learned that there is way more support out there for me to succeed than to fail.

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  2. I'll see things in books now and again and wonder if I've read them in another novel a while back. I guess even with good intentions we can still recycle an idea we may have seen before. it probably doesn't help that most writers write at ungodly hours. ;)

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  3. @salarson: that is a good reminder. It is what keeps me going.

    @T.Anne: thanks for stopping by. I totally agree.

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  4. I've learned that in order to improve your writing, you have to really want it from the bottom of your writing soul. Something clicks, and suddenly all that critical feedback is a good, not a bad, thing.

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