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The 2 Elements of an ORIGINAL STORY IDEA

If you’ve been doing this writing thing for more than one day, you’ve likely experienced the following worry: 

“What if my story idea ISN’T ORIGINAL?”

And if my experience is any indication, things spiraled downwards from there: “What if it’s cliche? What if there’s nothing new here?! It IS cliche. It ISN’T original. I’m a failure! ALL MY WRITING NEEDS TO BURN!”

Calm yourself. There’s a way to make sure that your story concept is unique.  

First, what IS a story concept? It’s the initial idea that made you want to write the thing. It’s the “What If” question that starts everything off. Later, it will be the promise that hooks the reader or audience, and makes them want to experience the story. 

So for example: What if Cinderella was a cyborg? What if a rat wanted to be a french chef? What if a fish had to venture across the ocean to find his son who’s captive in a dentist’s office aquarium?   

All great concepts. All of which seem to be comprised of two elements: something that we already know about, a set up that establishes expectations, and then something contrasting and surprising, which creates irony or surprise.  
So the first element of a successful story concept is FAMILIARITY. 

Establishing expectations? Something we already know about? Familiarity?! That sounds like the definition of UNorginal. 

Hear me out. 

What do readers do when foraging for a new novel at the bookstore? Certain readers gravitate to certain shelves. Some go to mysteries, some to crime, a whole lot to romance, and the rest to the other genres that are too numerous to list.

 Why is this? Because genres give them a pretty good idea about what they’re going to get. Readers already know the conventions of the genre. They’ve already put in the work of learning, accepting, and enjoying these conventions. 

Genres give both reader and writer something to go on right away. For the reader, genres are expectations for story events, setting, character, and more, which are automatically enjoyable to them. For a writer, it’s a set of expectations which can be flipped to create something remarkable and unique.  

It’s like telling a joke. Without a setup, there can’t be a punchline. 

The genres are the setup, the individual twist the author puts on that genre is the punchline. Or in other words, readers truly do want the same thing –only different.  

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at one of the most successful stories of all time.

With space ships, interplanetary travel, sentient robots, and aliens running amok, Star Wars LOOKS to be the kind of story that requires the audience to expend lots of mental energy to comprehend and believe. At first glance, it seems that imaginations are going to have to stretch a great deal, and there won’t be anything familiar to ground us – this SEEMS like an uncomfortably new, unwelcoming world. But I doubt if anyone has ever felt uncomfortable or unwelcome while watching Star Wars. And the reason for this can be summed up with one ellipsis-ended sentence:

Suddenly, all is clear. This isn’t the hard-to-imagine future, this is the PAST. We’re not being asked to imagine and believe a totally new world; we’re being taken to the realm of “far, far away”, a place we’ve known since childhood. Isn’t “a long time ago” just another way of saying “once upon a time”? Yes, it is, so we know where we are now. We are in a fairy tale, a myth.  

The familiarity of fairy tales sets us at ease and sets our expectations in place. Expectations which Star Wars meets with flying colors: A farmboy who must become a knight. A princess imploring for aide. A mystical wise-old-man mentor. Sword fights between good and evil. A magic that operates like religion. A dark lord and a dark side. Star Wars was built upon something we already know, something timeless, something we’ve always enjoyed. 

And once those well-known expectations were set, Star Wars was free to add the unexpected and create one of those most memorable story worlds ever.
Think of a story you love, and you’ll probably be able to identify the something-already-known aspect of it.  

How about Harry Potter? 

When we hear “boarding school”, mental images and probabilities are instantly conjured in our minds. We picture classrooms, dormitories, a campus with very old buildings, kids in uniforms, a giant place for meals, living through a schoolyear with a bunch of kids your age, etc. Even if we don’t know much about boarding school, we all know what regular school is like (even us homeschoolers over here *waves*) and our expectations for that are nearly identical from person to person.  

So what does this prove?

It proves that one half of your story’s concept must be grounded in something we already know, and know well. These are the expectations you are going to establish for your reader, before the second element of your concept upends everything and creates something wholly unique. 

You need FAMILIARITY. You need to ground your concept in something WELL-KNOWN. Only then will you be able to create something ORIGINAL. 

Where can familiarity be found?  

1. Genre Conventions 

2. Occupations 

3. Well-known stories  

The possibilities are not limited to these categories, of course. Familiar subjects can be found within many other areas. However, Familiar elements seem to share certain qualities … 

Provides a rough timeline

⦁ Conjures imagery

⦁ Sets expectations for events, characters, opposition, etc

⦁ Has natural potential for conflict 

⦁ Serves as a goal-oriented backdrop for the plot

To see how this works, let’s look at Harry Potter again: 

Familiarity: Going to boarding school. (An occupation)

Timeline: A school year (which Voldy always lets Harry complete before trying to kill him again, bless him.)

Story Expectations: When we hear “school”, we know what we’re going to get.

Imagery: Boarding school conjures tons of possibilities. 

Conflict Potential: It’s a thousand kids living in one castle with a handful of adults – there’s going to be conflict. 

Goal-Oriented: School is inherently goal directed. You want to graduate. And in the case of boarding school, you want to win the house cup. 

But of course, this familiar environment is only HALF of the concept for Harry Potter. The other half, of course, is WITCHCRAFT AND WIZARDRY. Which brings us to the 2nd element of a successful story concept, which will be the subject of the next post.

AVEX Pictures Export Ban

Are you a fan of Yuri!!! on ICE, Assassination Classroom, Osomatsu-san, King of Prism, and more? 

Unfortunately, AVEX Pictures, the publisher of these many anime titles are banning exports of only Blu-Rays, DVDs, and CDs. This restriction has been applied to all of the online shops in Japan, and will be placed in less than 24 hours ( Japan Time 6:00pm, February 15). Orders of BDs, DVDs and CDs will not go through after the indicated time. 

However, if you are desperate to get something , you have before Japan UTC+9 to get a copy on CDJAPAN.  All orders placed before the ban will go through normally. 

Products that have this under the description will be banned. 

Here is the email sent to CDJAPAN customers. 

If you want to support your favourite series, PLEASE go purchase a BD, DVD or CD before the ban is placed… 

13/jan - psychology revision today for the mock on friday. my mocks have actually gone p well despite missing one, but I got an A in geography which was a really nice surprise *u* I made lil flash cards today inspired by @studyrelief because her little ones were so cute I wanted to make some that size too

A shitty situation

So we recently have had a lot of issues with the bathrooms. My schools board had one asshole of a mom trying to propose a bathroom ban fro the trans kids. So for a while we had unisex bathrooms for “those who were uncomfortable with sharing the bathroom”. But basically the bathrooms were labeled as trans bathrooms. Anyway, people start doing to terrible things to these bathrooms like shitting on the floor or clogging the toilets until they over flowed. And mind you, these were originally the teachers bathrooms. So after a while the school board eventually passes the bill and they banned trans kids from using the restroom they wanted. The three out kids sue the school, and eventually they won the case. So the bathrooms are now gender choiced. Not even two days after the win, a kid walks into the classroom with a picture of a turd in a sink on his phone. He’s giggling and shows it to me and the other kids and the teacher (it’s a small class). Someone took a shit in the main boys bathroom sink apparently. We had to call the janitor and you could hear the disappointment in his voice.

100+ Kink Challenge 27

Kink #41: First Time 

Pairing: Punk!Cas x Reader

Rating: Teen, for now?

Word Count: 2,879

Warnings: Um.. none yet?

Listening to Ampersand by Amanda Palmer

An AU.. somewhere in the early 2000′s where Cas and all them are humans. I don’t know. I had an idea and I ran with it.

Technically this is fulfilling an anon request for the 100+ Kink Challenge. First Time with Cas x Reader. Soo… Deal with that.

Check out the other fine ass biddies that are doing this with me, @formidablepassion, @madamelibrarian,  and @when-the-day–met-the-night

100+ Kink Challenge Masterlist

100+ Kink Challenge Post

Here’s my masterlist.. because you know you want more.

Keep reading

3

In response to the government funded classroom vs. teacher funded classroom post…

Top picture: my first ever classroom. I spent two days, when I could have been doing more important things to prep, throwing away other people’s garbage.

Middle pic: my classroom this year, which was completely empty before I moved in because it was an 8th grade classroom last year.

Bottom pic: a “teacher-funded” classroom. Every thing in this picture I paid for or had donated, (through grants or people looking to throw stuff away) except the desks and chairs (and teacher’s chair).

Amazing

I wanted to join in on the fun of snowbaz feda for the remaining 10 or so days I can, so here comes some crappy high school au for the sake of it. Thanks, @snowbaz-feda.

Based on a post that has this prompt :
// I accidentally grabbed your notebook and I found a crap ton of gay writings/doodles and they’re amazing. Wait, are those combinations of our names all over the pages? AU


Simon

I turn the corner near my Civics classroom and slam right into someone who was turning the corner the other way.

“Crowley!” they shout as we both fall backward, dropping all of their books on the floor as they do.

“You alright mate?” I ask, getting up from the spot where I fell and looking over to see who I bumped into.

It’s Baz.

I haven’t ever talked to him, but he looks like a vampire from a black and white movie. Old school Dracula, basically, widow’s peak and all. Well, minus the pale skin.

He doesn’t answer, instead reaching around him and starting to pick up the various objects that had fallen when we did.

While he works on a pencil pouch that happened to be open, I pick up one of his notebooks. Mine it reads, and because I’m nosy, and he isn’t looking, I open it.

I realize my mistake immediately.

The first page I see is a picture of two guys kissing. It’s amazingly done. It’s not just faces pressed together, it has emotion embedded into it. The long haired one has his hand resting lightly under the other boy’s chin as if the shorter one would break apart if he pressed any harder, and the one with moles is gripping onto the other’s shirt as if letting go would kill him.

I can’t seem to look away.

Instead, I ask, “Did you draw this?” as if it could be anyone else’s, because I can’t think of anything else to say.

He looks up, frightened and tries to take the notebook from my hand.

“Why are you looking at my stuff?”

I tear my eyes away from the paper and take a look at him.

His stance is really defensive, as if he’ll need to run away or throw a punch at any moment, and he’s not sure which.

“It’s alright, this is really good,” I tell him taking a step forward to comfort him.

He looks at me quizzically, but steps away.

“I-it is?”

“Sure. Who are these characters?”

I turn the page, and hear him yell, “No!” but I don’t connect the two.

Fatal mistake. It’s covered in doodles of my name. In hearts.

Oh. Oh. I flip back to the first page and realize the resemblance.

The shorter boy. I recognize those moles. Those are my moles.

And the other boy. He has long, soft, black hair that I definitely wouldn’t mind touching at some point in my life. The same hair I sometimes admire from the back of the classroom.

This picture is of Baz and me. Kissing.

I look up at him and he looks absolutely terrified. His forehead is all wrinkled up and I want nothing more than to reach up and smooth them out.

He starts off running, almost getting away from me, but I catch him by the arm.

We’re facing each other dead on, and he looks worried, but I don’t punch him, so he stays.

I look down at his lips. I can’t stop myself. They just look so soft.

“The picture is amazing” I breathe, and then take the sides of his face in my hands. He closes his eyes, and I kiss him.

3

So here’s the thing. First, I’m wearing a dress because my boyfriend said so. Hahaha. Date “daw” kasi. Hahaha. Sinamahan niya muna ako sa station kasi may duty pa ako so 2 hours ata siyang naghintay sakin. Then after ng duty ko, kumain kami tapos pagkatapos nun we went to Ben Cab Museum because we love art. These photos are taken there btw. After we went to Ben Cab, I watched him play dota2 at M.I because I still have a one hour break before my class. I was asking him about what he was playing because I have no idea at all. Hahaha but I’m amazed tho. Pagdating ko sa classroom, pinakita ko yang pictures namin ni Zedd sa mga tropa ko (tropang potchi hahahaha) tapos ang sabi nila, “Hala grabe parang pre-nup na. Omgggg” Syempre kilig naman ako. Hahaha. Sabi ko nalang sa isip ko, “Oo yan, siya na kasi yung taong nakikita kong kasama ko habang buhay. Siya yung taong gusto kong pakasalan, wala nang iba.” Iloveyou @hugoterongmakata ❤️