Sunday, November 1, 2009

A new take on old stories

Throughout the drafting of my first novel, I was plagued by the idea, "There are no new story themes; only original executions." I thought I’d escaped that line of thinking with Where Souls Collide until a reviewer cited the story as a different take on the Soul Mates theme. Oh.

Originality is a daunting prospect for the unpublished writer, the seasoned author and all of us in between. How have I gotten past my early trepidation and continued to generate stories? I hinge my plot on execution.

For example, I’ve had a thing for angels lately. A recent short story, Stealing a Moment, published in Live, Love, Laugh: Romantic Short Stories, an anthology from Parker Publishing portrays one angel's heaven this way:

Familiar street corner faces stood proud among the clouds, holding prominent positions as Orphan Escorts and Prayer Runners. Others, like her, who’d begged for time to rest from down below got their wish and did little else up here. Sure, she helped out; sorting Shouts for Mercy and Cries for Justice from Mate Requests and Pleas for Children, ensuring each item reached its proper coordinator in timely fashion.

And in in the Holiday Brides anthology from Dorchester, a new angel is surprised at her surroundings:

"Sunday School heaven was all cherubs and choirs," Kay muttered. "Now they tell me there’s more work?"

Certainly grateful to pass the Life Inspection Application Process, Kay wasn’t sure she liked the unexpected promotion that resulted. If they’d asked, she would have declined this job and opted for a role more appropriate.

"I would’ve figured that a life – albeit, short – of faithful service, daily prayer, and eager witnessing deserved more than being appointed Official Babysitter of Fickle Grown Folks." Miffed and disappointed, Kay lamented her plight. "At least it’s only for twelve days."

The fun, for me, in writing familiar themes of angels missing loved ones on earth or charged with guarding unwilling humans was in the reasons behind their emotions and how that tied into my happily-ever-afters.

As a reader, what tried and true theme would you like to see reinvented? As an author, do you have a favorite familiar storyline that you’ve breathed new life into? I’d love to know!



Farrah Rochon said...

Stefanie, I'm a huge fan of the friends to lovers storyline. I tried to do it justice with my second Holmes book, Release Me. I agree that there are only so many themes out there. It's all about how you execute the story. Great post!

Liane Spicer said...

It's all about the execution and the author's unique vision. I happen to love the soul mates theme; I have a friend who's so into it she collects only romances with these themes.

I also have a soft spot for former lovers finding their way back to each other after many years. *sigh*