Thursday, September 7, 2017

Nothing New Under the Sun

I loved the story of the Three Little Pigs when I was a child. I had several versions of the book ranging from a small paperback to an A4 hard cover in full colour. The large version was by far my favourite with its vibrant illustrations and easy to read text. I was happy to read it over and over, and committed the story to memory.



When I started writing years later, I didn’t want to rehash the story of the pigs - or any other book. I spent hours pondering plots and trying to come up with something fresh and original. It took me a few years to realise the truth in what Solomon pointed out in Ecclesiastes 1:9. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

As writers, we must accept that there are a limited number of plots out there. We want our work to be original, fresh, and exciting but must realise that our story will be one that has been told before in many ways and many places. The way we put our words across is what will make the difference.

Going back to the Three Little Pigs, I liked the A4 book as it held the most appeal to my six-year old mind. I loved the full-page artwork, the cute cartoon pigs, and colours that drew me in. The text was crisp and clear and the story flowed well, leading me from page to page until the big bad wolf ended up in a pot of boiling water.

As we work on our books, no matter what the genre, let’s ask God to breathe freshness into the story.  Allow Him to inspire us with nuances of emotion, threads of colour and characters that stand out. Ask Him for stories that will prompt change, healing and restoration. This is normally a process rather than an overnight transformation but keep on writing and creating. One day you'll look down at your work and instead of a basic story that lacks colour and movement, you'll see a book bursting with life.

12 comments:

  1. Loved that picture of the three little pigs and your post brought back the story very vividly in my mind. Thanks Debbie. My husband and I have been watching an old TV series - The Fugitive - which has dozens of well thought out scripts - written way back in the sixties. It constantly amazes me the way they have a new tale each time - very creative writers they would have been. And so yes, you are right - there's nothing new under the sun. Thank you for the lovely reminder that it's up to us to breathe freshness into our stories and characters. Love the idea of seeing a book bursting with LIFE. Sounds wonderful! :)

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    1. Thanks Anusha - I remember my parents watching The Fugitive. Must ask my mom if she remembers it!

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  2. Thanks for your post, Debbie. Some great thoughts about originality and freshness. It's true that as writers, we all borrow from those that came before us. Yet we all have different ways at presenting it.

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    1. Very true - every story is unique even if the plot is similar to another book.

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  3. Great reminder. Formula stories are popular because the formula works. But having a fresh and inspiration side to it is something we should all be searching for in our writing,

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  4. A wonderful blog post Debbie.
    I too loved the Three Little Pigs ... I didn't mind that mean old wolf either, he was such a scallywag. Also I'm quite glad that he ended up in the pot of boiling water. I love happy endings, and although true life on earth doesn't always pan-out that way, we can at least bask in the knowledge that eventually there will be one magnificent ending, which is really a beginning. And our hairy-legged monster will boil in his sin.

    Agreeing with Anusha ... There is nothing new under the sun. It's what we do with it that counts, how we use the wisdom of others to create our own inspirations.

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    1. In this day and age, I wonder if the wolf still ends up in boiling water or if that's no longer PC! I loved the story as a child.

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  5. Yes, good to remember this. There seems such pressure sometimes to write something 'new'.

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  6. Debbie, you've addressed a concern that I've often thought about. I love your advice about praying through those moments. Well done and thank you. God bless.

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