Do I Strive for Originality? (#IWSG Aug 2022)

Posted August 5, 2022 in Creative Writing / 8 Comments

writing update

I’m afraid I’m late posting as I completely forgot what day of the week it was. Before I get onto my views on originality, a quick writing update. I’m off work for the summer holidays and I’ve been planning some short stories for a few anthology calls that close at the end of August. I’m also developing an idea for an autobiographical novella in verse.

Boston Book Festival 2022

Boston Book Fest 2022 16th-18th September

I’m busy preparing for a creative writing workshop I’m running at Boston Book Festival on Saturday 17th December in Boston, Lincs (UK).

“Join Anstice for her “What If?” workshop, aimed at budding writers and fans of fiction who want to try something new.

You will explore fractured fairytales, compelling retellings, and modernised myths. Through fun prompts and activities, you will learn how to write stories that defy expectations, blur boundaries and turn tropes on their head.

Anstice looks forward to sharing her tips and tricks and answering any questions you have about writing and publishing.”

If you’re interested in attending, tickets are available to purchase here.

Originality vs. Marketability

This month’s optional question:

When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

I usually try to be original, although I don’t always succeed. I don’t believe in true originality because most works of fiction will inevitably contain unconscious references and allusions to other works. Many of my stories are purposeful retellings of fairytales, myths and legends. However, I try to make the story my own by incorporating a unique twist or turning a trope on its head. I particularly like to subvert expectations when it comes to good vs. evil, weak vs. strong and other stereotypical dualities.

With the exception of anthology calls, for which I write to a brief, I don’t usually give much thought to what readers might want. I write for myself first and foremost. Most of my stories were written because I needed to write them, not because I thought people needed to read them, and as a result, they’ll probably never see the light of day. The characters’ personalities, the tone of the piece and whether there is a happy ending or not mostly depend on my mood at the time and what the story is telling me it wants to be.

However, I understand that in order to write marketable fiction, I will probably have to learn much more about reader preferences and trends so that my work appeals to a wider audience. I see it as a balancing act between producing work that is accessible and engaging and staying true to my individual style.

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group post on the first Wednesday of every month. We want to help writers of all stages to overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

This month’s awesome co-hosts are: Tara TylerLisa Buie CollardLoni Townsend, and Lee Lowery!

Do you have any writing news to share? What’s your view on originality in fiction? Let me know in the comments!

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8 responses to “Do I Strive for Originality? (#IWSG Aug 2022)

  1. Congrats on the workshop! It’s always nice to see people’s writing updates. I agree about writing- I have to write for myself too, some stories just seem like they need to be told, even if they only appeal to me haha! Although you’re right- -when it comes to publication or submissions then you need to write to an audience as well, at least to some extent…

    • Thanks. I always figure I can make it more appealing to readers during the editing stage. When I’m drafting, I just want to see my ideas come to life.

  2. I love that you write for yourself first and foremost, and hope that you can find a way to balance that fine line between integrity and sales.
    And thank you for your haiku on my Words for Wednesday post. I loved it, and sin-sweet is a wonderful phrase.

    • That’s the good thing about not having an agent or a publishing contract. I feel I have the freedom to write what I want, when I want, without so much pressure. But If I ever want to write for profit I know I’ll have to learn more about marketing. Glad you liked the haiku.

  3. Sounds like an awesome workshop. Sorry I’m on the other side of the pond. Lived in another Boston for a bit at one point.
    “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”
    ―Anne Herbert
    My IWSG blog post discussed my love of originality. I’m looking forward to the bout of books readathon and WEP’s flash fiction later this month.
    Life threw me a curveball with a neighborhood crisis this week, but we got through it.
    Fun fact: August is the only name of a month that’s also a popular name among 👶 baby boys.

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge

    • I’ve always wanted to go to the US Boston to see what it’s like. The UK Boston is probably very underwhelming in comparison, but I’m fond of it despite its flaws. It does have an interesting history and some beautiful buildings, like St.Botolph’s Church (The Stump).

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