Sunday, October 20, 2013

Originality Clones.

Original Sin - Salvador Dali

If writers try so hard to be original, than why is so much of their work identical? Answer: because they all try too hard to free themselves from the banal.

Here's a question; what is originality?  If we define it as a completely unique creation, sprouting solely from our heads like Athena from that of Zeus, then our pursuit of originality will prove disastrous.  We will all sound the same: like fangirls of our own supreme genius.

In the end, the man who looks outside himself for answers wins. We create the works of greatest beauty when we open ourselves up to God, other people and the our vast, wonderful world. Originality does not come from within. It comes from without. There are many ways we can get it, and only a few of them have to do with ourselves. Empathy trumps almost all else in writing. The moment "originality" squashes empathy, real value packs up and leaves, and disdain mars our work. Humility nurses great authors. Pride mothers great destruction.

"One sees great things from the valley, and only small things from the peak" - G.K Chesterton

"What moves us in writing that has regional or ethnic the sound of voices far older than the narrator's, talking in cadences that are more than ordinarily rich." -William Zinsser, On Writing Well

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