I've been told; quite frankly I've read it quite a few times as well, that authors today lack the ability to generate new stories. Granted, with the sheer number of movies, novels, and short-story’s hitting the market it may seem like everything worth saying has been said. The big question I have struggled with lately is whether similar means same. Are the events in a story more important than its characters’, their perception of events, their interaction with events, and their characteristics?
What about the impact of story outcome, if everything else is held equal and I change the outcome, is it the same story – does it really matter to the reader, or does similarity dissuade them from reading on? What if I maintained each characters’ nuances and perceptions but reversed roles, whereby the protagonist is now the antagonist, is the story the same or similar? Can I make this transition without delving into the absurd?
In a literal sense, if one element or characterization of a story changes, the whole story changes, leaving me to deal directly with similarity. As I think about it, perhaps it is the very nature of similarity versus same that jades the contemporary critic.
I’m not naive to the reality that what an author experiences in book and film impacts or influences his/her writing, I just can’t imagine any work of art dominating style and creativity completely – we are individual at the end of the day, we may perceive as others perceive, but it’s not the same, it’s similar. Again I am left to deal directly with similarity.
Just one of the many reasons why I love to write stories!