So, I’m in several writing groups, and the big one on facebook (Fiction Writing, 90,000+ members) has had a lot of posts asking a pretty similar question, here lately. “I have an idea for a story, but there are already so many stories like this out there. Should I even bother writing it?”
Such a loaded question, but a very simple answer.
As long as you’re not just straight up stealing someone’s work, write your story. It won’t be like the other stories, because it’ll be yours, written with your voice, in your style.
Who gives a fuck how many werewolf stories there are, or how many accidental baby with a billionaire stories have been written. If you have an idea about an accidental baby with a billionaire werewolf, fucking go for it.
Because your individual writing style and voice will change it, and make it unique.
Individual writing styles vary so much that it’s insane. Some writers even use different styles for different types of stories.
So, as long as you have a clear style and voice, you can write whatever you want.
Whatever you want.
Writing style let’s you get away with some serious shit.
Hell, at one point in his short story, “The End of the Whole Mess,” Stephen King forsakes spelling, punctuation, and every rule of grammar. And without that section, the story would’ve been…meh.
The story was phenomenal. I think back to it frequently, even though I read it like 5 months ago.
I’m not going say why he does it, or when, because it’s a pretty major plot device. It MAKES the story.
But it happens. Every basic writing rule…gone. And because of the style the story was written in, not spelling anything properly or bothering with punctuation…it enhances the story rather than taking away from it.
Side note…the shit you want to get away with has to be intentional. Don’t just bury your head in the sand, and refuse to learn about writing. Don’t pretend rules don’t exist or apply to you.
Don’t be that cocky.
If you’re gonna break a rule, don’t just say, “That’s how I write,” and expect everyone to think it’s awesome. Lol. You need to have a reason, and an understanding of how it affects the story.
Now, if you want an example that doesn’t seem so unattainable (because Stephen King is pretty high up there), my personal writing style is meant to be like you’re in the mind of the character. It reads sorta like a mixture of thought and direct experience, even when I write in third person for the sake of clarity when switching points of view.
Therefore, it’s rife with sentence fragments and occasional repetition. Because people don’t think or experience things in perfectly composed sentences.
I use curse words and sarcasm. Since I write very naturally, it makes sense. People curse. People get snarky sometimes. It happens.
I use enough description to get the point across, but no more, and only stuff the character would notice. Writing the scenes in such a direct way means that the character isn’t going to pay attention to the type of fabric every other person’s clothes are made of, or the type of trees in the careful landscaping at someone else’s house. Not unless they’re a seamstress or landscaper. Maybe not even then, if their mind is otherwise occupied.
And I pack the stories with emotion and dark subjects. If the story calls for gore or violence, well, it’s gonna be in there.
Not everyone wants to focus on trauma or battle scenes. Not everyone wants curse words. (Clearly, I don’t mind them. Lol.)
The book I’m currently reading (Winterhued by E. H. Alger) is in a genre that I write in a lot (fantasy romance), but is nothing like my books.
It begs to be read in an old English accent. It’s got beautiful, flowery writing and rich description. So far, it’s stayed away from heavy battle scenes, and focused more on the interpersonal goings-on of a besieged castle.
Had I written about a besieged castle with knights and a princess and ladies-in-waiting, it would have been a very different book aimed at a different audience. But Alger wrote it, using a different style, and a different voice, and different ideas.
Not writing it because other people have written about castles and knights would’ve been silly and sad.
It’s beautiful, and there’s no substitute. The author’s voice, the author’s style, and individual spin on things are what make the book unique.
So, to sum up, if someone else wrote about a vampire that used to be a viking and is also an angel (yeah, seriously, it’s been done. It’s a seven book series by Sandra Hill) that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t.
Because it won’t be the same story.
Write what you want, even if someone else wrote a story about the same general principal.
So. Keep reading. Keep writing.
P.S.- I haven’t read that series by Sandra Hill, but I love the title for the last book. “The Angel Wore Fangs” is catchy as fuck.