Thursday, October 17, 2013

A story is a Quilt

I'm a reader and a writer and I freakin' love stories, obviously.

I still remember in my creative writing class several years ago when the teacher showed us a general plot outline for a fantasy novel. I was blown away! I love fantasy novels and when I saw that general outline-I realized that most of the stories are the same. 

This got me to thinking....why do I keep reading them then? Is this why I always am able to figure out what comes next?

I'm sure there are lots of theories as to why we humans keep coming back to stories we already know, but I think it can just boil down to that we enjoy the familiar.

Granted, not all fantasy stories follow the general plot line, but there are themes in them that most all of them have.

When I first come up with a story idea it's usually just one plot point, or general idea. I have to brainstorm more ideas to add to it. My ideas are shaped by all the stories (tv, books, movies, verbal, etc) I've ever known.

For example, my story I'm working on now has influence from several other stories/characters.

General idea- People who can travel to other worlds through portals located on the worlds.

There are lots of science fiction stories out there that have this theme. Stargate, like I mentioned in yesterdays post being one of them.

Here's how I make it my own though:

The portals are like stepping stones. Each world only has two portals, each leading to another world. My characters will have to travel "back" to their original world by going through the portals that lead back to it.

I think of stories as a patchwork, like a quilt being sewn together with creativity as the string, but using scraps from other stories.

Think about's why when you read something it reminds you of something you've previously read. The stories share some themes or ideas, yet they are different.

Like a Ven diagram. There can be some overlap, but in the end the new story is a new creation. A rewording of ideas.