Originality in plot

I read, quite some time ago, a claim that William Shakespeare had managed to encapsulate most story types within his works. He had been so successful at doing this that now, as a result, people tend to refer to the story types via his writings rather than any works created before him even if the structures had been around for millennia.

Knowing that he perhaps had acheived this feat, a writer might be justifiably be daunted by the prospect that there might be no story structure available for their brain to conjure up without having someone having beaten them there first.
This needn’t be a problem. I personally think that dwelling on the structure of the story is soemthing that is certain to doom the writer to failure before even starting out.
I’m not aware of anyone that came up with the idea of a book and said that the premise should be this or that structure, it’s nearly always the character or the basic plot of the story that has been birthed, developed, grown and created rather than the structure, and that being the case, it seems to me entirely acceptable to ignore the structure almost completely until at least the first draft has been completed. At that stage, it would then deem wise to start thinking about whether the character developments are satisfying, the story has a flow, the events have a natural progression, and so on.
If, after those things have been analysed, you find that the story does indeed have the structure of Romeo and Juliet or Othello then you can take it as happy coincidence, and if it has no resemblance to any accepted structure then, who knows, maybe you are the next Shakespeare, and I bow down to you.

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About lechaise
An unpublished, unrepresented author, I've so far self published my first book to Top 20 Amazon Humour chart success, and a slightly less amateurish first draft of my second book. The third book is now being written after which I'll edit my second book then think about completing editing on my first. Or maybe I'll skip all that and start writing my fourth, or just say sod it and go to the pub.

One Response to Originality in plot

  1. Azevedo says:

    In this wonderful video Vonnegut talks a bit of story structures: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP3c1h8v2ZQ Take a look 🙂

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