Day 26 of the Blogging from A to Z April challenge. Today’s topic: Yevgeny Zamyatin and creativity.
Once upon a time, there was this guy who wrote a book about a dystopian society where the government controls every aspect of life. The main character falls for a woman, which is against state law, and they sneak off to a place they think they won’t be watched. Outside the city are people thought to be beneath the citizens of the police state. The main character is eventually caught, lobotimized, confesses everything so that his girlfriend takes the blame, and falls in line with what the government teaches.
I know what you’re thinking. “That’s 1984. Big Brother. Doublespeak. Where we get the term Orwellian. Everyone knows that.”
Well, kinda. The book I described is We, written in Russia in 1923. The book you’re thinking of was written in 1949, about a year after Orwell wrote a review of We and said he’d use it as a model for his next novel.
My whole point with this, I guess, is that maybe there aren’t any new ideas out there. No matter what you write, someone will have covered it prior.
So find those ideas. Read, and read widely. Experience life as much as you can, vicariously and armchair-ily to fill in the gaps, and discover those ideas.
Then take a new angle with them. Add a twist, a different POV, a different theme. Write it in your voice, colored by your own experiences. Make it your own.
And maybe, someday, yours will be the one that’s remembered.
(Note: I really wanted to work in how Godsmack completely ripped off Metallica, but unfortunately it didn’t quite fit. So I’ll just add it here at the end instead.)