Sunday, April 24, 2022

Make an Old Story New Again

Some say there are only three types of plots:

The happy ending, the unhappy ending, and the classical Greek tragic ending in which events are controlled by fate.

There are many variations on these three plots, of course, and plots are always controlled by the conflict between the characters. 

Remember the conflicts taught in high school literature classes?
  • character vs character
  • character vs nature
  • character vs the environment
  • character vs machine
  • character vs the supernatural
  • character vs self
  • character vs religion

The point? It is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. Coming up with a new plot that has never been written is improbable. So, take a cue from many modern writers and rework a plot from a story you've read or a movie you've seen.

There are many examples of revised plots. For example, Romeo and Juliet was adapted as the musical, West Side Story, and the typical spaghetti western novel was transformed into Star Wars. The same classic plots, but oh so different in every other way.

So, if you have trouble coming up with an idea, just work with a classic plot and start changing all the other elements to make it your own story.
  • Change the setting.
  • Change the point-of-view. Tell the story through the mind of a different character than in the original story. 
  • Choose a classic plot and bring it into the modern age. Choose a fairy tale, an epic poem, a classic novel, a Bible story, or a myth. 
  • Keep the conflict from a novel or play or movie and change everything else. (Change characters, point-of-view, plot, setting, etc.)
  • Change the protagonist from male to female or child to adult.
In my creative writing classes, I had my students watch both True Grit and Shane. Then they had to outline two original stories using the same plots as the movies but the settings would be in the present day. They had to invent their own characters and settings, but the basic plot and the themes were to remain the same as in the movies they saw. My students wrote some great stories and told me they loved doing the assignment.

Remember, if you base your writing on a plot and then make it your own by using your own words, you will not be plagiarizing. An idea cannot be copyrighted.

So, don't take too much time reinventing the wheel. Just think of books and movies that you really enjoyed. If you liked the plot or the theme, use it, but change all the other elements.

You will find many creative writing ideas and resources in my TpT store. Take a look. You will save 20% if you purchase the resources in a bundle. 

Thanks for reading,

Before you go, take a look below at some of the helpful blog posts from my teacher friends from The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative. 

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