Writing:The Illusion of Originality
It’s safe to say most writers aspire to create work that’s considered “original.”
If you believe you’ve happened upon an untouched concept, just ask: what are the chances? If I had a Spanish doubloon for every “fresh idea” I had – only to discover it had already been done, I’d have a soggy treasure chest full of worthless currency.
In the horror genre it seems, originality is highly praised — and barely read. The key is to find unusual angles for the usual tropes.
Let’s take the zombie sub-genre. Clearly it has reached a saturation point in every possible medium. Like the ambling corpses that populate it, it keeps hanging on, long after there’s any point or purpose. That’s not to say zombie stories are no longer relevant. If anything their persistence is testament to their relatability. Even before Romero, we vaguely understood the implications of an afterlife far removed from our idealized concepts — for both sides of the deal. We see how similar our neighbors seem to these mindless decaying machines of consumption. So what stories are there to be told within its framework?
Survival, loss, hardship and terror.
All humans made equal by a shared crisis. Plenty of room for stories within that framework, right? Yes, actually. People will still fall in and out of love, have children, make friends and enemies, compete for attention and position, strive for better lives. These are human stories, about life. Originality is rendered irrelevant.