Recently, I heard another author claiming there are no more the stories to be told. All the stories that could be told have been written. All that’s left are changes to the characters and the scenery. Authors who make this claim support their argument by listing a few basic plots all stories use.
Many stories have the same basic plots because they follow standard templates such as the hero’s journey or “save the cat” with its planned story beats. Yes, following templates like these will result in all the stories being told.
If a writer wants to write a different story, they need to be creative and ignore templates. This comes with risk as readers may reject something different from the template driven stories they are used to reading. But, I think this is a small risk.
I’m always asking readers what they are reading. While some read the same authors (who use the same templates), the majority enjoy finding something different. When they do, they stay with that author. I think the best way for an author to stand out and be successful is to write something that is not like everyone else’s story.
I’ve blogged about this topic before. But, I’m writing about it again to encourage writers to reject the well worn path of standard templates. Stop writing the story that everyone has already told. Like Robert Frost wrote:
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.