Clowns Will Plot Devices

They really, really will. Just ask Stephen King.

I’m supposed to be sleeping right now but… eh. Can’t sleep.

Clowns will eat me.

I was thinking about writers, their projects and how similar something one of them publishes is similar to another book which had come out not too long before. Take, for example, Ian McDonald’s Planesrunner. It’s a brilliant YA SF story about a boy who can cross dimensional planes while hunting for his father, who was abducted by people from another dimension. However, I remember reading a story less than a year ago (from the same publisher, no less) called Cowboy Angels, which was about a man who was crossing dimensions to fight wars. But even those I linked back to Chris Dolley’s Resonance, which is about a man who is experiencing dimensional shifts every time he makes a choice.

All written independently, yet very similar ideas.

Hey, I’m guilty of this as well. Corruptor is a story about a teenage girl who gets trapped inside a computer game by terrorists. Neal Stephenson wrote a book called Snow Crash, which is about a couple of hackers who discover a multiverse and get caught in it. I didn’t know about Snow Crash, though, until fellow author Leo Champion brought it to my attention. I was, to say the least, a bit upset.

I thought my idea was very unique. Boy was I wrong.

Someone once famously said that there were no more original plots. I tend to disagree but, after seeing more and more novels that run the same (I mean, how many variations can you run an alien invasion before people get it?), I’m starting to wonder if the majority of ideas are stagnant.

Hey, I’m just wondering. Now accusing anyone of anything, no sir. Not my style.

…I am wondering rather vocally though, aren’t I?

Think about it for a second. What stories are out right now? There’s the romance story (check, Twilight), there’s the fight against evil (The Dresden Files, check), there’s rags to riches (Cinderella, Snow White and every single f’ing Disney movie involving a princess it seems), a quest (looking at you, ghosts of Robert Jordan and J. R. R. Tolkien), revolution (1984 is a good example), tragedy (read a Shakespeare play sometime), comedy (ditto) and the changing aspect (when a bad man turns into a hero out of necessity or choice, aka Ghost (okay, that’s stretching it a bit, but I couldn’t think of anything other than Frankenstein for an example off the top of my head)).

Okay, eight plot devices. Hrm. For some reason I thought that there was seven. Not complaining, just observing.

Man, I must be really tired.

Clowns, oh what plot device are ye?

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