How To Recycle A Story
As I’ve been searching through several cool books on Amazon in the last few days, I’ve been considering something interesting. How do we writers make our stories so different from other stories before us? Or are we simply recycling them in some way?
Don’t get me wrong, nobody is getting accused of plagiarism, don’t panic! I’m thinking of something different. I remember being told a long time ago at primary school, by a lovely English teacher, that a story I wrote was very like one she had seen somewhere in a children’s book. I was quite upset, and pretty threw a small tantrum, muttering something under my breath. She laughed and told me not to worry about it, that it was actually a good thing. By copying parts of it unconsciously, it meant I had read lots of books, the integral part of being a successful writer.
While that made me happy that I was well on the way to being the next Stephen King (I wish!), it made me worry that no-one would ever find my stories interesting if they had already read it elsewhere in a different form. Surely, I thought, the point of writing is to aim for a reach that holy grail of writing, the Original Idea?
At least it is for me, and maybe it’s a ridiculous thing to aim for. Every time I see a story that is even slightly like mine in plotline, I have to change my entire manuscript. I want to have that single book that no-one has read yet, the one that they read and gasp, “I didn’t even realise how much I wanted to read this!” But perhaps my books are always going to be a little similar to others, especially as it slips neatly into the Paranormal Fantasy/Romance genres, meaning it must have similarities to other books.
But maybe that’s a good thing? All writers and readers head towards the end of the novel with two thoughts; to find out what happens, and the unconscious desire to make the characters come to life. When a reader hits the last page, and nobody has leapt out brandishing a sword, or sweeping past the flatscreen in their crinoline dress, they need that feeling again. So they start another book with similar characters, hoping this might be the one to jumpstart them out from the pages.
Also, it’s a known fact that with all of the literature and art that has been produced in the past few hundred years, some ideas will repeat. We sometimes refer back to these ideas for inspiration; I even listen to music to inspire me as I write, and you could argue I could use an idea from the song and put it into my novel.
So perhaps we should always aim for the perfect Original Idea for our novels, but not worry too much about unconsciously using an idea from a book from several decades ago. After all, they do say that mimicking is the best of flattery!
What do you think? Or did I lose you somewhere in the waffle?
Moon Rose Publishing has just released their newest book, A CELTIC TAPESTRY! An anthology between eight authors, each one has taken their own twist on one of the Celtic festivals of the year. From sunny spring to chilly winter, everyone’s favourite season is given a fresh and enticing take in this wonderful collection. To celebrate, Moon Rose Publishing is also hosting a fabulous giveaway as part of the release!
The wheel of the year turns, bringing the joy of spring, the warmth of summer, the richness of autumn, and the merriment of winter. But eight Celtic festivals link these seasons together, bringing with them romance, lust, danger, and even magic. From a city under threat from night-time creatures at Ostara, to a selkie caught by the light of the Lughnasadh moon, to a writer caught in the flames of a fiery goddess at Imbolc.
Eight authors have come together to give their own twist on these festivals, weaving each story with a blend of myth, magic, and contemporary telling…to create A Celtic Tapestry.
Excerpt (Shadows In The Dark, Miranda Stork)
The light buzzed and flickered about her head before returning to its static glow. Rebecca gave it a disdainful look, tapping it with one finger. Shaking her head, she returned to brushing her teeth, her tired face reflected in the bathroom mirror. She really needed to rent a new house—the landlord did nothing to fix the faulty electrics. At least it was cheap though.
Laughter floated through from the TV in the bedroom, making her brush faster. She hated missing this program. Rebecca spat out into the sink, running the water to clean off her brush. As she placed it back into its holder carefully, she glanced back up at her face. Her fingers traced the sides of her eyes, where crow’s feet were starting to emerge. Ugh. Rebecca had always been one of the first ones to say that you should grow old gracefully, but she didn’t mean at the young age of twenty-eight. She peered in for a closer look-
What the hell?
Blinking, Rebecca spun around in shock. She had seen a shadow blur past in the landing behind. The blood drained from her body, her limbs going icy with fear. Someone is in my house! With the bathroom door wide open, she had a full view of it. Her head darted from side to side as she tried to look for anything that might be a useful weapon, if she needed it. The bathroom was not the best place to find it. If only I’d had a machete installed along with the bath suite. Finally settling on her straighteners, she padded out into the landing carpet. They wouldn’t have been her first choice, but she was ready to give a good smack with them if she could.
The light in the bathroom buzzed again, flittering on and off as if a moth was caught in its beam. The sound made Rebecca flinch, but she ignored it and slowly tip-toed across the dark landing. She knew better than to shout out, “Who’s there?” She had seen enough horror films to know that you never got an answer, and that was usually how you gave away where you were. There was no noise from the spare room where she had seen the shadowy figure run into. The light in the bathroom finally came on full again, but then the landing light came into life.
The hair on the back of Rebecca’s neck stood on end as she dared a glance at it. She knew full well it wasn’t switched on. It flickered on and off, before finally giving up the ghost and returning to the darkness. A trickle of cold sweat ran down her forehead, making her grip the straighteners even tighter, everything in her body willing her to scream and run away. For a second, Rebecca did think about darting down the stairs, grabbing her mobile to ring the police, and running outside. Really, it shouldn’t even be a thought. She should be doing it.
A noise from the spare room made her look up in panic. Her chest rose and fell rapidly with the silent breaths that were rushing from her lips. Taking a nervous swallow, Rebecca leaned her arm out to switch the landing light back on, and advanced towards the room. The landing light flickered yet again, but stayed on, bathing the landing in artificial yellow glow. Her lips had never felt so dry. Her heart was pounding against her ribcage so fervently she was sure it would give her away before anything else, the blood from it rushing through her ears louder than the laughter from the TV.
Rebecca’s hand trembled as she reached out to push the spare room door open. It slowly swung on its hinges, protesting loudly with a creak. Great. So much for not letting them know I’m here. Moving fast so she didn’t get surprised herself, Rebecca lurched across for the light switch in the spare room. She snapped it on, bracing herself in the doorway, and turned to find—
No-one was there. With the room fully lit, all she could see were the cardboard boxes from when she had moved in. A layer of dust. The carpet. Nothing else. Even the curtains at the window were still. She nudged the door back on itself, to be sure no-one was hiding behind it. Another scan. No, the room was definitely empty. Rebecca let out a deep breath and lowered the straighteners. She gave a nervous laugh, echoing off the walls.
“See, this is why you shouldn’t live alone…silly girl,” she muttered to herself. A ‘ping’ of noise made her look up sharply at the ceiling light. It was swaying. A moment ago it had stood still. A breeze, perhaps? The windows really need that insulation putting around them. It continued swinging, and began to flash on and off, as the other lights had done. As if in response, the bathroom light and the landing light began to do the same. Rebecca refused to be worried by it this time. Damn electrics. But she couldn’t ignore it when she suddenly realised the laughter had stopped coming through from the TV—instead just channelling static.
*‘Copyright of Miranda Stork*
I was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1987 and have lived in various places around Britain, including Newcastle and Glasgow.
My writing is inspired by various writers, including the vivid characters of Charles Dickens, the imagination of Stephen King, and the gothic imagery of Anne Rice.
My love of horror began at an early age, when I was only three or four. I could read proficiently at the age of three, and devoured fairy-stories, but I always had a bent towards the darker stories, such as the Brother’s Grimm’s tales…Red Riding Hood was always a firm favourite, although I always felt sorry for the wolf, despite him having tried to eat everyone!
I write a mixture of paranormal romance, fantasy, and thriller, all finished off with a healthy dose of erotica! 😉
MRP Website Author Page: http://www.moonrosepublishing.com/#!miranda-stork/c17yy
Book buy links:
MRP Website link: http://www.moonrosepublishing.com/#!a-celtic-tapestry/cayu
Amazon US http://goo.gl/8vFFV
Amazon UK http://goo.gl/TVzuh
Amazon CAN http://goo.gl/0GRqw
Kobo link: http://goo.gl/BFFWo
And now for the giveaway! Well, what IS the free stuff? Moon Rose Publishing, as part of the A CELTIC TAPESTRY tour, is giving away a ton of good stuff. You could win a print copy of A CELTIC TAPESTRY, a sticker pack, bookmarks, a beautiful necklace and jewelled bookmark from Tara S Wood, or an e-book of the anthology!
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