Wednesday, November 7, 2012

IWSG : Original Or Extra Spicy

                                                                             
          

It's time for another edition of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, where we share our innermost feelings under the guidance of our fearless leader  Alex J. Cavanaugh. The group has grown so large that he has deputized other volunteers to assist in his patrol. Be sure to visit this vast array of amazing authors who are always willing to offer their support.

The wonderful thing about this group is no matter where you are on the list, someone will welcome you with open arms. You don't have to worry about being noticed. This frees you to worry about everything else instead.

For example, lately I've been struggling with originality. Not only do I wonder if I've unconsciously taken someone else's ideas, but I also wonder if I've recycled some of my own. I fear that I'm turning into the crazy aunt who sits in the corner muttering the same stories over and over again, while the children are instructed to politely nod and smile. Eventually the stories will drag on as long as my chin hairs, and no one will say a word about either irritation. On the bright side, it only takes minutes for me to pass out in a comfortable chair.

The other day an elderly man came over to give me an estimate on "dustless" wood floor sanding. I was very concerned when he got down on his hands and knees to measure the floor. Miraculously, he was able to gracefully spring up on his feet like a gazelle. His knees didn't buckle, his bones didn't creak, and his cap didn't sway. It only fueled my desire when this ninety-year-old, five foot two Valentino was able to hear every word I said.

After he left I started typing away. The words were flying off of the page. I was writing chapter after chapter with a reckless abandon. I was grateful that I had finally found my muse. When I reached the halfway mark, I decided to take a cold shower. My husband drew me a rose petal bath instead.

As I was about to go back to work, my husband insisted that I have something to eat. He prepared a lovely meal that we ate in matching robes in front of the TV. We watched a classic film  that was wildly romantic, yet strangely familiar. Though I had never seen this love story before, it was haunting me.

At the end of the movie, my worst fears were realized. I pulled the chair closer to the bear skin rug, and tried to slowly pull myself up from the floor. When that didn't work, I took the belt off of my robe, and wrapped it around the chair like a pulley. A moment later, my husband awoke, and dragged me along the room. Then I grabbed my manuscript, and threw it into the fire. He tried to stop me, but I told him that my story was already made into a Marlon Brando movie from the seventies. Aside from the fact that my tale took place in Pittsburgh, it was almost identical to The Last Tango In Paris.

44 comments:

  1. I think we all have a few basic stories that we like to tell repeatedly. Look at any popular writer, and they're usually doing the same story over and over again.

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  2. Oh how I hear you on this one. However, I've learned that it's not so much the story, but how we interpret it in our own minds. Sometimes there are similarities, but ultimately it's how the plot percolates in our brain. Keep going, it'll come out eventually just as you want. That's what rewrites and edits are for. :)

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  3. That's me as well. I'm stuck with this one scenario that keeps being regurgitated. Thanks for showing me that I'm not alone in this regurgitation nightmare! p.s. could you get your husband to run me a rose petal bath too. It sounds most attractive!

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  4. How true about someone being there to welcome you with open arms. That's what makes the awesome people of Blogdom so amazing. Its a support group among many other things.

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  5. Well, you know, they say there are no original ideas. But YOU are an original, and so anything you write will reflect that. :))

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  6. It's funny to me that you would worry about this Julie, because I always think your posts are so original!! I think you are one of the most creative bloggers out there. :)

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  7. Your story may be similar, but I'm sure you've got your personal and unique touch in there to set it apart. Do not despair!

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  8. Everyone is right about there being no new plots. It's all about your take on the story and the characters. Keep your story. Work with it. It will happen.

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    1. Good points about the story and the characters! Thanks Carol!

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  9. Stu - This is such a wonderful way to look at it! Thanks Stu!

    Melissa - Very good points Melissa! Thank you!

    Rosalind - I like your frequent use of "regurgitation" which let's me know that you're on to me! The rose petal bath was supposed to be a foreshadowing to the movie. My chances of seeing one would only be on the big screen! Thanks Rosalind!

    Stephen - Now that part happens to be absolutely true! I couldn't agree with you more! Thanks Stephen!

    L.G. - Thanks for getting that most of this was written tongue-in-cheek! For a minute I thought that I was entering the "Bizarro World," or at least that everyone thought I was!

    Julie - Thanks so much Julie! It is funny that anyone who knows me would think that I would come close to accidentally writing The Last Tango In Paris! I also enjoy your creative stories too!

    Lee - Thanks for your support!

    Julie

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  10. Yes, every trope has been a thousand times over. It's just a matter of reworking it with a fresh spin. And since you are so funny, I don't think you'd have that difficult a time making even the most depressing of stories sing with humor.

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  11. Oh no!
    Our ideas tend to stem from other ideas. Maybe you can still use the inspiration elsewhere.
    At least you had a nice evening with your husband.

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  12. You're as original as they get, Julie. And "Last Tango in Pittsburgh" is, well, kind of catchy.

    xoRobyn

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    1. Thanks so much Robyn! I was getting ready to pull my hair out!

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  13. Nancy - This post was supposed to be funny, but I guess it didn't turn out that way. Thanks for your words of encouragement Nancy, and you have a great sense of humor too!

    Alex - After I described the elderly man from the floor company, I went into fantasy mode. We don't have matching robes, and I didn't write Last Tango In Pittsburgh. I do however, find myself passing out in front of the TV now and then. Thanks Alex!

    Julie

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  14. I'll have you know we must have the same funny bone because this post had me smiling by the end; totally got your humor Julie!

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    1. This is music to my ears Jen! I knew I liked you when we met during A to Z! Thanks for giving me my sanity back! I will always be grateful that you are my sister in satire! Julie

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  15. Julie, you have a special brand of humour... I had a good chuckle when your hyper-active imagination kicked into fantasy-mode and went "off at a romantic tangent"... Lol

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  16. Hi! Coming in from the IWSG and your post today made me laugh. I think we all think that we're unconsciously picking up ideas from elsewhere, or writing about the same things. Actually I did discover that with my WIP - I suddenly realised I was putting my characters in exactly the same situation as happened in my first novel. Good thing I noticed in time.

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  17. Oh my gosh... I'm DYING here... !!!! It's so obvious you're a writer because you had me totally captivated with this whole post... Julie, you are awesome!

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  18. Michelle - I probably should have written this in third person, but I'm so glad that you realized this was all in fun! Thanks for the kind words, and I love that you always incorporate humor even when you travel to dark places. Julie

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  19. Susan - Thank goodness you noticed it in time, but I guess it is only natural to gravitate toward certain situations. It's nice to meet you through the IWSG, and I really appreciate the follow! Thanks Susan!

    Morgan - I want what you had for breakfast Morgan! I love your enthusiasm, and hope to deserve it! I really enjoyed the positive spin on your IWSG post! Thanks so much Morgan!

    Julie

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  20. Oh my gosh! Glad your husband was there to stop you from throwing that manuscript into the fire. You still might find some original ideas in there, regardless!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  21. The Last Tango in Paris. Wow Julie I would not have thought of you as that kind of writer. I love the way you use your words and I laughed out loud at the ending. Thanks.

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  22. haha you had me re-reading this---very clever!!!

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  23. Nutschell - My husband has been there to rescue me from many situations, but this one was pure fiction! Thanks Nutschell!

    Yvonne - That's why it was The Last Tango In Pittsburgh! Things are a bit more subdued there! You were wise to be suspicious Yvonne. Thanks for the kind words, and for catching on!

    Lynn - Maybe it was a little too "out there," but I really appreciate you giving it a second try! Thanks Lynn!

    Julie

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  24. Hey,

    Well I think that was a bloody great, original post, so keep it up.

    Do you write comedic situations in your WIPs.... if not, perhaps that is (part of) the solution:)

    I *loved* the old guy on the floor :)

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  25. This was superb! When the 90 yr. old leaped up to his feet, I felt my knees groan. And the whole inspired writing flurry--You are awesome.

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  26. I've read many things which I thought were phenomenal (I've also read some crap, too, but that's another story). Especially when it comes to humor, I'm many times quite impressed. Wow, how clever and original, I think. No way I could come up with something like that. Then, I hope that maybe someone reading my hideous stuff may think the same thing. Or line the bottom of their parrot cage with Penwasser Place.

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  27. Mark - I always create situations in my head that I find "comedic." Maybe this one should have stayed there! I really was impressed that the old guy was able to get up from the floor so gingerly. Everything that happened after was make believe. Thanks so much Mark!

    Susan - It's funny how our taste in men changes with age! When I told my mom about the elderly floor man she asked if he was wearing a wedding ring! Actually she didn't, but it sounded good! Thanks Susan!

    Al - No one would ever use your stories to line a birdcage, though they would be perfect to wrap gifts in! I truly believe that you are an original Al, and I always love your stories! Julie

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  28. you know you've got it made when you can match robes with your husband and eat in them! tooo cute!!

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    1. Oh, if only it were true! Thank goodness my husband doesn't have a bathrobe like mine that's torn and hanging on by a thread! I think the last time we wore matching robes was when we found them in our hotel room on our honeymoon. Thanks Tammy!

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  29. Hi Julie .. such is life isn't it ... but the imagination can roam free and develop fabulous plots and ideas ... the 92 year old made me laugh ... and you've got long hair that could be grasped and dragged along that sanded floor .... ah well! Dream on to both of us ... great fun - cheers Hilary

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  30. This reminds me of something my English professor told me a lifetime ago. The Greeks wrote every type of story you can think of. If you (students) think you will come up with something original, forget it. The Greeks have already covered the subject. Since then I've already realized what counts is fresh and fabulous characters, because he's right, the story's already been told. What would make any story you wrote original is your unique characters. Look how many versions of Romeo & Juliette there are.

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  31. Hilary - Of course that would've been easier than trying to lift me up! This just struck me funny, but if I was really going to dream big, I would've chosen a better movie! Thanks Hilary!

    Joylene - Wise words from your English professor. I agree that Romeo and Juliette will always live on in so many different art forms. Thanks for giving me hope Joylene!
    Julie

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  32. Oh nooooooo! But apparently there are only something like seven themes? Anyway, originality isn't the end all and be all. It's more about the nuances of the story you tell.

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    1. Interesting about the "seven themes," and I agree that the special touches make a story come to life. Thanks Talli!

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  33. A very entertaining IWSG. Thanks for stopping by my blog with a warm welcome.

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  34. You burned your WIP?! Oh my. I'm sure there was originality in there. It was written by you, and you have such an entertaining and original blog with a great boice. But I do understand and suffer from the originality thing too. I know I'm an idea thief. But I just can't help it. There are some really good story ideas out there.

    I think n matter how much a person uses a basic idea from something else, it'll still have their original perspective to it! I love reading all the different interpretations of Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice and all those classics.

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  35. You crack me up! Heck, if you were gonna fantasize about a rose petal bath, you shoulda gone all out and thrown in scented candles and a glass of wine, too! I thought this was all gonna turn out to be a dream sequence in the end, but sheer tongue in cheek is good, too. Better. And I can't imagine you writing anything close to "Last Tango". More like "First Kiss". (Fun post!)

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  36. C.M. - Thank you, and great job co-hosting!

    Linda - This was all written in fun, so no paper was wasted. Both Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice are great examples. Thanks Linda!

    Susan - I'm more of a milkshake kinda gal, but I like your scented candles idea! I'm so glad that you don't associate me with x-rated movies, though it probably would be only a PG-13 today! First Kiss is a very cute movie, and it is a little more my speed! Thanks Susan!
    Julie

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  37. A rose petal bath sounds really nice. I loved the muse. What charm.

    So many stories re reinvented over and over again.

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