I’m of the opinion that there’s no such thing as pure originality when it comes to a premise in story. We derive inspiration from thousands of things – consciously and subconsciously – so it seems weird to believe otherwise.
That said, it’s difficult to hear calls for originality – for ‘out there’ stories and then have doors closed specifically for those reasons.
Because ‘original’ has a habit of becoming ‘unsellable’ really frigging fast.
It’s frustrating, but it’s nobody’s fault (which is even more frustrating, I’d like a target to lash out at sometimes). Comfort food sells well and there are times when the industry needs that dependable cash more than it needs something far left field.
And don’t let me act like I’m some kind of visionary. I wear my influences on my sleeves and collar and fucking pant legs. In my case, originality tends to be my constant wagging of a middle finger at convention whenever I have the chance. Also, that isn’t framing me as some kind of rebel – I think it’s mostly that I enjoy being an asshole when it comes to those things. Not sure – there’s other avenues for that kind of introspection.
Anyway – this is more of a venting/advice column today. As frustrating as it can be; when you’re out on query and trying to land an agent or a publication, it becomes harder and harder to keep that brave face on. Constant rejection is difficult and sometimes, it isn’t ultimately worth the effort. That’s OK, though. We’re all learning and we’re all trying our very best to sharpen our craft as best we can.
In short – being frustrated is better than being bitter. Keep moving. Keep writing. It’ll happen – or maybe not.
Not a big help, huh? 🙂