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2012-366 Day 146 – Originality

Well, the post I was originally going to write had to be shelved as it wasn’t going the way I hoped. Don’t worry, you’ll see it in the future after I get it to where I want it to be.

That’s actually probably a good thing, as I was kicking this idea around and a post today from one of my favorite authors, Gregg Hurwitz, brought back to the forefront of my mind. While his post has to do with the writing process (and, by extension, why this blog will never become a book, not that I had any illusions it would be), my thoughts were instead sparked by a tv show trailer I saw and some of the material in the oft hinted-at but not revealed novel I’m (occasionally) working on.

The upshot of the trailer is that the world undergoes some sort of massive event that causes a world-wide failure of technology. Now what happens and how it resolves hasn’t been revealed, and I’m sure that’s kind of the basis for the entire tv show, but the world it inhabits is similar to one(?!) of the worlds I’ve envisioned for my novel. When I first saw the trailer I thought that I needed to get a post up pretty quick explaining how I’d had this idea for a while and start a sort of paper trail so when people accused me of ripping off the show in the future I could (kind of) defend myself. As I started to think it through, however, the differences became more apparent, and it actually spawned a new piece of the support structure for the story I hadn’t considered before. So that part was inspired by the show, but it isn’t a direct copy . . . you know what, it goes back to my original realization . . . it’s not important what people think. Which is actually kind of my life motto, so I guess that ties everything up neatly for me, personally.

All that being said, it does pose the further question, one asked throughout time and one I am certain I will be absolutely no help in answering, “What is originality?” Since the dawn of man, ideas have built upon each other to the point where we now have a proliferation of items that contain thousands of different ideas all put together and working toward a common goal (think cars, computers, cell phones, etc.). In the 5000 or so years of recorded human history, when did the truly original ideas die out? With 7 billion people on the planet, is there such a thing as an original thought? Perhaps that is why fiction, whether written or in movie form, is so popular, as we have to go outside of our own experience to find any sort of originality. That’s probably what interests me about the novel project, creating a world and history that is original, a tapestry that is woven from ideas that merge into their own unique pattern.

Perhaps that is our modern definition of originality, taking the old ideas and combining them into something that is new and unique. A sort of combo-originality, if you will.

Weight: 229 Loss: 11 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 165 miles (+3 miles)
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Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , , , .

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  1. mom said

    In art, I had a teacher that would get mad when students talked about doing “original” work–he felt it was a worthless point. After painting a while, you realize that it is impossible for any two people to paint the same way. They can’t–their brains are different, they see it differently, they interpret it differently, and that’s the beauty in it– the teacher was trying to tell us that you don’t “do” originality, you “are” original. Unless you take in research and spit it back out unchanged, you will make it your own.

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