Nothing you can write is new!

There’s no completely new or original topic in writing and that’s the cold hard fact. World literature spans thousands of years and humans are still, well, humans. Because humans think alike and share the same universal values regardless of the era, whatever we write about will always be the same: love, hatred, family, children, growing up, sibling rivalry, competition, anger, friendship, death, birth, loss, grief, envy, greed. Our emotions and motivations have not changed over the centuries, hence, neither has the core of what we write about changed. From the earliest records of mythology from the Bronze Age all the way to contemporary literature, topics and themes remain the same. Imitation is rampant, and even my favourite writer of all time, the accomplished William Shakespeare, does not have original stories. He has borrowed rampantly from Greek and Roman literature, with plays that have plots so similar to the Greek tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles or the Roman comedies of Menander, Terence, and Plautus. To say the least, my friend Will was well-read in Greek and Roman literature! And from Shakespeare, Moliere, and Voltaire, we have progressed to thousands of outstanding playwrights including Shaw, Osborne, Ionesco, Mamet and many many more. What makes the writing new is how it is approached, developed, and executed. What new turns of phrase, situations, settings, props, and personalities are introduced; what combination of fortunes or misfortunes; what twisted or inspired language; what pacing, excitement, quirks, and questions are presented–all these are what make the literature original, unique, and worth reading. And if these things appeal to readers a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand years from now, then that will be great writing, worthy of joining the canons of world literature that will be read, studied, and preserved long after the writers have shed their mortal coils.

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