Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Originality

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." -C. S. Lewis

As usual, our good friend C. S. Lewis has the answer to everything. We all worry so much about being original and standing out, when really worrying about it is the last thing we should do.

Really we just need to live and tell the truth of our experience. We need to be utterly honest with ourselves, even when its scary and vulnerable, and that's when people can connect with us and when we become original. Because all of us are already. Original, I mean. We're us like nobody else is. It's when we try to be something not us that we lose that originality.

This has been interesting to think about as I try and brainstorm my next idea. The way it happened last time was that no matter what I did, I had this character in my head that had to get out, and had to get their experience and perspective told. It's happening that way again, except this time with a seventeen year old redhead girl instead of a burly forty year old man. She has something to say, something I need to say, and kind of the only thing I can say right now. So I'm going to write her story and say it, whether its been said before or not. Then next time I'll say whatever the next character in my head needs to say. Hopefully originality will happen in the process.

Do you agree with our friend Lewis? What makes you original?

Sarah Allen


  1. Pretty much every story worth telling has been told before in one form or another. What sets one apart from the next is in the art of the telling. Congrats on the birth of a new MC. Hopefully, she would guide you as you tell her story from start to finish.

  2. I love that photo!

    I think we find the originality in the voice of the person telling the story and the nuances they add in.

  3. That quote is genius! I absolutely agree with it. :D

  4. Great quote - that's precisely what I'm hoping for!

  5. That is an amazing quote, and definitely gives you something to think about.

  6. That quote really says it all--telling the truth. Sometimes that gets me in trouble, but it's more fun that way, isn't it?

  7. Ah, C.S. Lewis. Do quotes get any better than that? It does drive me bonkers when I have written something and a crit. partner will say, "that's just like..." I try to read like a fiend so I know what's out there and I don't "copy."


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