While I was reading this book, it occurred to me that Wayne may have given me a clue as to what the story would be like. Two years ago, Wayne posted this on his writer’s forum:I've heard it said that there are a finite number of basic plots for a novel. Things like "the quest," "the coming of age," "the discovery," etc. ...that all stories at the simplest level fall into one of the set number of plot structures.
I've also seen books panned because "the plot is derivative." Eragon, which I happen to like btw, has dozens of one and two-star reviews on Amazon, the majority of which decry the story for being a rip off of LotR and Star Wars.
Thing is, Lucas "borrowed" much of his plot from Arthurian legend, and Tolkien, all-time-master-story-teller that he is, borrowed heavily from Norse traditions.
So my question is twofold:
1. Are there plotlines out there that have just been "done to death?"
2. What can an author do to revive or renew familiar plots so that they will feel original to the reader?
Personally, I thought the Eragon movie was very derivative of the first Star Wars movie, though I can't speak for the book.
I answered question one this way.…there's the "YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE!" story, which we've seen a lot from Star Wars, The Matrix, Dune, the Terminator movies, and Lord of the Rings. Here, basically an unwitting chap is yanked from his regular, hum-drum life and is told he has a special destiny, in many ways it's a variant on Christ's story. This plot, to be honest, is one I think needs to be retired or at least semi-retired, because the moment the bearded (or in Morpheus' case, the shaded) one reveals the chosen one's destiny, the suspense is pretty much gone. You know he's going to receive his special powers or whatever and defeat the evil forces, because "he's the chosen one." (I know Lucas made Anakin the chosen one, but he turned out to be a bad guy, and I still don't understand what Lucas was trying to tell us with that) I just think things like that, and old prophesies fortelling the hero's fate, really sucks a lot of anticipation out of the story, unless it's done really really well.
You know, if you think about it, it really is a done-to-death cliche. How many movies and books have this plot device? (Though quite a few still do it well)
Anyway, the Waynester replied:Awww, mannnn, Jason, just wait for my next fantasy series. I am SO going to turn this cliche on its head.
Hmmm….well that piqued my curiosity. Is Curse of the Spider King said turning said cliché on said head? Read tomorrow's post to find out!
Well…it turns out I was off the mark. Nope, it wasn’t Curse of the Spider King. As Wayne said in the comments section:
“…the book I was referring to is the first of my new series with AMG: The Dark Sea Annals.”
And speaking of said book, you can click this link right here to see it for yourselves, complete with its really cool looking book cover:
Oh yeah, I should talk about that Christopher Hopper dude. He contributed, too! Duh. Here’s a link that will take you to his two entries in his White Lion Chronicles series:
Anyway, to close up shop for today, the book was awesome. It comes highly recommended from yours truly.