This infographic about Man Booker 2011 prize plots got me thinking. There are only x number of plots in fiction. Some have argued 7, some have argued 36, some have argued over 100.
So how do you continue to keep it fresh?
- High concept: big plot ideas (THE LEFTOVERS, THE AGE OF MIRACLES) with traditional human experiences (coming of age, falling in love, family breakdown)
- Trends: you don’t want to be following them, but you can see what’s working and think about how to bring a new angle to it. And you can also see what isn’t working right now (i.e. publishers aren’t really buying westerns)
- Genre blending: i.e. women’s fiction meets mystery
- Contemporary inspiration: the ‘modern family’, globalization…
- Escapism: 50 Shades of Grey. Need I say more?
You have to complete for today’s readers’ attention with YouTube, Twitter, and films–how are you going to capture their attention with your writing?
Q: Does the idea that it’s all been done stop you from writing or inspire you to think big?
Image via 1001 Books to Read Before You Die