My previous post “The hypocrisy of creativity” attracted comments, which I’m always grateful for. I just re-read a comment and realised that I had missed the point when I responded.
“The assumption here is that what you are offering to a reader IS a new idea. This assumes that you know the total experiences of your reader better than they do. Is it not possible that what you interpret to be ‘new’ is not ‘new’ to your reader?”
He’s absolutely right. In my response, I defended the fact that readers don’t know me, and that I didn’t want to be compared to others. This was probably a knee-jerk reaction to my first release day (see Don’t Crush, Don’t be Crushed) and being instantly compared. But he’s right. We think that we’re offering something new because we’ve written it, we’ve created it and it’s ours. The reality is that it’s a small world and we’re influenced, whether we think we are or not. My son pointed out “tropes” to me, you know, those “commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works”. I didn’t know that “tropes” existed, and then I realised I had them to a degree, everyone has them whether they know it or not.
I still believe that I can offer something different, but how “different” it really is can’t be answered. We don’t know every word ever written everywhere. It’s different to ‘Flattery or Fraud’ it could be purely accidental. They say that Harry Potter is really just Star Wars redressed, whether it was intentional or not. So I think I understand now, and I don’t know how different I am, but I hope I stand out to someone, somewhere, and provide them with some entertainment and some food for thought.