A Few Tips on Constructing Your Own Plots Based Off Influence
I’ve never been one to shy away from my political views, though I’ll be the first to admit my Libertarian-leaning views today differ from my borderline Marxist-leaning views of yesterday, like in 2010. Needless to say, my views sing in Lord of Columbia.
However, Lord of Columbia was in the works. Well, kind of. From 2010 to 2012, I’ve started, stopped, sputtered, and stalled multiple times. The concept remained identical: fantasy, global events, politics, all the fun stuff, but the story, well, fell apart.
Then I made a list of influences.
What were my favorite book series’?
What have I read and researched so often that I came back to again, and again?
What captivated me?
I came up with several avenues, including the Harry Potter Series, Star Wars, Chronicles of Narnia, Avatar: The Last Airbender, symphonic power metal music, and later the Austrian School of Economics, Ron Paul, and others.
What jumped out at me about these influences?
Let me tell you, by making a list of influences, your goals will be more clear-cut. Perhaps you’ll come up with some killer plots, characters, and settings.
You’ll have something to work with and chances are you’ll find a correlation between your work and the work of others. Initially, I thought I’d be copying J.K. Rowling, George Lucas, and C.S. Lewis, and although there are some striking similarities, Lord of Columbia took its own route.
And your work will, too.
We’re All Original
All stories are original in their own way.
Sure, we may’ve sought influence and even added elements in from some of our favorite works, but at the end of the day, all stories are original.
When one reads Lord of Columbia, they may see traces of Harry Potter and Narnia, but at the end of the day, they’re going to see something new. Something they’ve yet to read.
Let Your Message Shine
This can’t be overstated. Your message must shine, and you should take a seat in the background.
The same can be said for both Lord of Columbia and Comeback Kid. Each have their own unique messages, including among others, spreading the principles of liberty.
However, our characters must be engaging, and hopefully a couple will remind readers of themselves. The story must be captivating enough to grab readers by the throat at the beginning, and never let go until the final page.
Get rid of the throat-clearing, backstory, and long descriptions. They can come in a systemic way. Sure, keep your voice unique, but keep the story, characters, and message front and center, and you, the author, is nothing more than the puppeteer pulling strings in the background.
Find your influences, ask yourself why you’re writing your manuscript, be original, and allow your message to be the light that shines through. Go above and beyond. Give your work so much attention that you’re going to ferociously edit until you’re happy with every scene, conversation, and word. Be motivated not to get your name out, but to plant seeds of ideas in your readers. Write with them in mind, as if you’re writing to them, and maybe your influences will rub off on them.