Inspiration and Originality

Published on August 18, 2014

I once recommended some piece of fiction to a friend - this was a while ago, so I've forgotten what I recommended. Anyways, she said something like, "Thanks, but I'll get to it later, so that this story that I am writing will be original and won't be influenced by outside forces."

I don't remember my exact response, but I'm sure that it was something like, "But, outside forces can help inspire and make your work better. And it could give you fresh ideas as well."

So, I figured that this would make a good article.

Let's be really honest here: everything that anyone has ever come up with was inspired by something. I don't think that anyone will really dispute that any piece of fiction that one comes across will have been informed by something, whether it be another piece of fiction, music, life experiences, etc. Trying to limit what gets inputted into your work, so that you can come up with something "original", limits what the output can be, in my opinion.

Star Wars was inspired by a ton of things, including Roman history, old movie serials, and Akira Kurosawa movies.

Some of Shakespeare's most famous works were based on historical events.

Sherlock Holmes was inspired by a few people that his creator knew; in turn, Dr. Gregory House was, at least partly, inspired by Sherlock Holmes.

The list goes on, but the point is that trying to go for "originality" is pretty futile and can be really limiting. The important thing is that you take your inspirations and make them your own, improving on them and using them to tell YOUR story.

So, if you're ever stuck, trying to figure out how to continue your story, don't be afraid of looking at some other creative works. Who knows, they just might inspire some originality.