I’ve been watching season five of Game of Thrones this week, and reading Outlander. I’ve also been working on a book for my own fantasy saga, the Gilded Empire.
I know, roughly, where I am going with the entire series. But it’s a rich world and there’s always more details to fill in. Especially since this series has such a strange structure to it. In ways its Game of the Thrones meets Discworld. What I mean by that is this, it has nothing in common with Discworld in theme, mood or storytelling, but it shares the same structure. There are multiple series within this world, with one large meta story that will eventually drive all the stories together. In mood and themes, it’s close to Game of Thrones, a dark series about geopolitical upheavals, the tenuous relationship between the haves and have nots in a medieval world with a dose of large scale change thrown in.
There was a scene in Game of Thrones (I won’t give any spoilers) that sparked me to think about how I would handle a similar situation. There was another in Outlander. The twin reflections suggested a new storyline for me, one that explains a big chunk of the backstory to the Gilded Empire in one fell swoop. It’s a cool heady thing when it happens like that.
Pessimist say that there are no new ideas under the sun, and perhaps they are right. Every theme, every setting, every character idea has been written somewhere. Writers waiting for inspiration to bring them a truly novel story, wait in vain. No sooner will a writer proudly spill out their truly unique storyline than someone will pipe up with, “that’s just like…” It can be frustrating.
Unless you embrace the nitty gritty bits of story telling. Because every idea might have been written, but not by you. And you will put a uniquely you spin on those idea. You will digest the idea through the lens of your own experience and tell a new tale, one no one has read before. And that’s part of the magic of being a writer.