How To Come Up With An Original Plot

By on April 8, 2020

One of the most difficult challenges for writers is to try to come up with a unique and compelling plot. There are millions and millions of books already out there, covering almost every topic and genre under the sun. Writing a unique story, therefore, can be a massive obstacle.

Of course, writers need to realize what this really means. A unique story can be unique without having to have every single detail so. There will inevitably be some crossover. Whether you choose a young, spirited girl as your protagonist, and elderly wise retired general, a lovestruck teenager, a goofy singleton - and anything in between, already you will find that there is a story that stars a character with the same traits as yours.

But it is through the details, the plots twists, the setting, and the unique characteristics of your protagonists that you make your story your own. In fact, rather than worrying too much about being unique, you should accept the fact that it would be challenging for you to write a story that’s a carbon copy of another unless you were doing so intentionally. Just as you are a unique individual with a personal account to tell, the book you write will be so too. 

However, paying attention to plagiarism and understanding what’s already out there in your genre will help to ensure that your story doesn’t end up shadowing one that is already well known. You can also use the following tricks to help ensure that you keep yours is as original as possible:

Do your research

By doing thorough and extensive research into your genre or chosen topic, you will understand the conventions of that genre, and this will help you to consider the most critical elements that you need to include to make it ‘work.’ There is no point in striving to write something that no one else has if you don’t have a firm grasp on what the readers want, that they want from all stories they read. Once you know what you must include, you can then decide how to add these parts in a unique way. 

Figure out why you need to be different

Originality has its place, but sometimes authors place far too much importance on this - at the expense of their stories. If you are so desperate for your book to be nothing like any other, you could end up making yours seem far fetched at best, farcical at worst. Originality needs to be worth it; contribute to the story in a way that makes sense and is not just for the sake of it. 

Use layers to build your plot

By building your story by adding layer upon layer, you will naturally create an original plot that is entirely your own. Ideas are generally born as standalone things and can be pretty one dimensional. It is through gently eeking them out, and turning these moments of inspiration into robust, compelling stories that you will begin to shape a story that has an exciting and original premise.

Creating original stories and characters is not easy. However, it’s okay to start with a story with a basis that’s not too dissimilar from others you have read in the genre. From here, you can begin to bring new life, new details, new twists, and turns to the plot and characters that will turn your story into a beautiful, intriguing, and truly unique novel.

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

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