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I’ve written this before

July 26, 2013

Longer ago than I care to admit, a guy named Chris Isaak recorded a song called “Wicked Game.” If you were of the MTV generation then, you probably remember it for its steamy video. Though it’s PG-rated, it’s steamy enough that I’m linking to it instead of featuring it here.

So flash forward a, uhhh, few years to now. I heard a song called Wicked Game by a guy named Phillip Phillips–whose parents clearly hated him before he was born (just sayin).

Huh, that’s the same name as the really hot song from Chris Isaak.

And I listened on. Different song, I thought, until he got to the refrain. However, with the different arrangement, it’s almost a completely different song. It’s certainly a different listening experience.

It’s been said there are only something like eight stories in the world. It’s not the story that makes the difference, it’s the execution of the story. Recycling ideas can be good. After all, West Side Story is really Romeo and Juliet.

When you write a long time–particularly if you write something short, like a blog–you’re going to wind up writing about the same things you’ve already written about. It’s inevitable. Sometimes you might not even realize it. (This blog has had more than 1600 posts, and I guarantee that some of the ideas have been hit multiple times.)

Repeating ideas isn’t a bad thing if you make the treatment of the idea fresh and interesting. Even when you know what comes next in the story, the idea can seem original if there’s a twist to make it fresh.

You should strive for originality. But given the sum total of all the plots and all the stories told, someone’s told something pretty close to the story you’re telling. The key is finding what’s different–the thing about your telling that makes it fresh and unique.

One Comment
  1. July 26, 2013 9:01 am

    Nothing’s new, Chris. In Latin, that’s nihil sub sole novum. In Hebrew, it’s אֵין כָּל חָדָשׁ תַּחַת הַשָּׁמֶשׁ (en kol chadásh táchat hashámesh). Both mean “There is nothing new under the sun.” The quote is taken from Ecclesiastes 1:9: The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (King James Version)

    The sermon is over. Now it’s time to pass the plate for FWA.

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