When we first begin writing or painting or playing music, we tend to imitate those who influence us. And, yes, we are constantly influenced by what we read, what we listen to, who we hang around with.
But there's a difference between being influenced by others and copying them. On the latter, the thinking goes like this: If Game of Thrones is a huge success, and I reverse engineer how it's structured, then I can also write a successful story. It's the pursuit of the guarantee: we minimize risk of failure and rejection by copying what's been successful before.
I know writers who will take a novel and map out every scene change, every switch in viewpoint, every plot twist - minor and major - in an effort to reproduce someone else's success.
Can this work? Sure, I suppose. A Quest is a Quest, right?
Will it guarantee success? Not at all.
Of course, you can write a novel or two this way, and maybe that's okay if you're learning the craft. But at some point, you need to stop copying and start creating a story with your voice, your characters, your themes and plot twists. And that means giving up any kind of wish for a guarantee.
Hi, I'm David. I write science fiction from a Christian worldview that promotes hope. Want to know the darker details? Click here.
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