“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.” C.S. Lewis
Isn’t this great? I keep telling myself, “Check the market!. Look at other books similar to your own! Compare them. What makes the one that is published stand out?” Yes, all of this is good, but without sincerity, without telling the truth, it is nothing. Yes, I believe this. Truly, I do. Be genuine. Keep it simple. Stick to your roots, the adventure stems from there. Liberate yourself from the idea that you have to be so original, that you are almost like the next guy, but not quite–you have a twist. The best I can explain it is with this dialogue from Stranger Than Fiction, a movie about a man named Crick, who’s life is lent to chaos as he discovers someone else is narrating his life–something only to be found in books.
Dr. Mittag-Leffler: I’m afraid what you’re describing is schizophrenia.
Harold Crick: No, no. It’s not schizophrenia. It’s just a voice in my head. I mean, the voice isn’t telling me to do anything. It’s telling me what I’ve already done… accurately, and with a better vocabulary.
Dr. Mittag-Leffler: Mr. Crick, you have a voice speaking to you.
Harold Crick: No, not TO me. ABOUT me. I’m somehow involved in some sort of story. Like I’m a character in my own life. But the problem is that the voice comes and goes…
Dr. Mittag-Leffler: Mr. Crick, I hate to sound like a broken record, but that’s schizophrenia.
While noticing something is different about his life, Crick comes to believe that the narration in his head is somehow unique. Dr. Mittag-Leffler points out that it is nothing rare, but only likely to be schizophrenia. Crick tries desperately to explain that his case is original, unique. Not only are the voices not talking “TO [him] but ABOUT [him]” and telling [him] what [he has] already done…accurately, and with a better vocabulary.” So all along Crick was quite original without knowing it, even without the voice in his head, but only because the author made him so, without knowing it! After all, they do not meet until the end. Do you see my point?
“There is profundity in simplicity”–Burt Stout