Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A gorilla in a tree

Two weeks ago my daughter came home with a writing assignment. Look at a picture then write a short story about it. The picture had a boy standing on the branch of tree with a gorilla about to climb onto it. She made up a great story about a boy getting dared to go into a gorilla habitat at the zoo.

The next week I was volunteering in my daughters class and I had to listen to the kids read their stories, praise what they did right and give them a few helpful hints on how they could make it better.

Despite being put on the spot to provide feedback to a bunch of eight and nine year olds, what I found interesting is how different everyone's story was. One was about hunting, another a jungle, a pet, getting chased up the tree, etc.

I know it's been said that there are no original ideas left in this world, but even if that's true, there are definitely original voices. Two authors could have exactly the same idea for a book, but each book would be completely unique.

What do you think? Are all the ideas used up? Do you think that two authors could have the same idea but come up with completely different books?

PS: I think blogger might hate me because everytime I try to comment on someone's blog it kicks me out. I am reading everyone's posts - honest.

14 comments:

Melissa Marsh said...

I think any idea can be made original by putting your own voice to it, as these kids did. :-) It's our unique view of the world that makes it fresh!

Lynn said...

Yes, I do believe we all are unique, creating our own ideas for stories, even though we may be all in the same classroom of life.

Monica B.W. said...

Totally! I think that 2 persons could have the same premise but their book would be completely different! I think it's like fingerprints... you know?

Heidi Willis said...

I think all the copycat Harry Potter and Twilight books show that the same basic idea can be written many ways.

I worry about this myself, though. Several of my favorite ideas for books in my "idea folder" have been recently published by other authors, and it leaves me feeling defeated. Can I make my own story from it, and can it be unique and fresh? That I don't know.

Kasie West said...

So true. Give two writers the same plot and the books will be entirely different. It's really a great thing.

Jessica Nelson said...

Completely agree with you! How fun to hear the kids' stories too.

Laura Pauling said...

Ideas are so universal that yes when boiled down to their base roots I guess there are no new ideas but the execution of those ideas is endless.

Jessie Oliveros said...

I agree. I am thinking of writing this great book about a girl who visits a hidden world in Iceland. What do you think? But really, I used to be more wary about sharing my ideas on my blog but now I'm a little more free with them because I know no one will ever write it like me. Plus, people usually want to put all that time and effort AND EMOTION into their own idea baby. I'm sending you something right now.

....Petty Witter said...

You could argue that there are no original ideas but I believe there are many new eyes to see different perspectives and many new mouths to voice these different perspectives.

Not the only one to be having problems, I'm unable to sign into some blogs unless I 'sign in' as anon though I do tell them its me in my comment.

You could try using Google Chrome and see if that makes any difference.

Robyn Campbell said...

I shall get blogger for being SOOO ugggly with you, Patti!

I think the ideas are used up, but people see things differently as you discovered in your daughter's classroom. I could look at a picture and write a totally different story than you. And isn't that great? That's called creativity at its best. Super post you chocolate lover you. :-)

ali said...

Blogger's been behaving badly lately ~ it's not just you! FYI, I've heard that if you log out and back in again, it frees up the commenting again. Weird, I know.

And I loved this example of how every person's story is unique!

I agree that there may be a shortage of STORIES to be told, but that as long as their are unique VOICES (love how you put that) there will always be something for us to read (and write!)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

So true that an author brings their own originality to a story making it their own.

And didn't you receive the special Blogger dust to sprinkle on your keyboard that helps evaporate all Blogger glitches? Neither did I. ;)

Carolyn V said...

I've often wondered that myself. When you find out, you'll have to let me know. =)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love giving my students writing assignments like that - for exactly that reason. I think you are exactly right about ideas and voice, Patti. Great post! :-)