The Thing That Makes Your Story Unique

Before you say that the Force makes Star Wars unique, I’m gonna beat you to the draw and contradict you. Namely, that Mandalorians make Star Wars unique. Ha! Beat that. I will not be dissuaded by argument, rational or no.

But wait! Star Wars is so huge, so expansive. Can you really say that there is only one thing that makes it special? Sure, no other story has the Force, heck, they don’t even have Mandalorians, but that still doesn’t answer the question: how can only one thing make a story unique?

The answer is that the question is ill-posed. “What makes your story unique?” Is like asking “What aspect of coffee do you appreciate?”. Obviously, we must square first and foremost this fact: no ONE THING makes a story, just like no ONE THING breaks a story. Nor does one thing make a story unique or one thing make a story common.

I am not saying that some stories have clearly defining elements that set them apart from other stories, because this is of course possible. My beef is that some people think that ONE ELEMENT makes or breaks a story. I am here to tell you: no. Not in any way, shape, or form is this the case.

Stories are far to complex to be wrecked by one element, unless that one element permeates the entire story. This also works in the reverse: stories are too complex to be lightened by one element. The same goes for uniqueness and commonality: No one element makes a story common or unique.

Rather, if you want your story to be unique, you have to let original thinking pierce every aspect of your writing. Instead of adding a “trump card” that supposedly makes your story all the better, make every card a trump card. Otherwise, it will just be a really cliched story with only one of your ideas.

But I did say there was room for special original ideas. Maybe there’s one or two ideas that would blow the mind of the reader (in a good way, of course) if they were put in. I endorse these, and I think that stories are made much better because of their existence.

But I just want you to know this: just because you put in one truly original idea doesn’t stop the rest of your story from being crap. And just because you made one mistake doesn’t destroy your story. But try to add as much original thought as possible to your story.

But if you truly need a really good idea that makes your story yours, don’t come to me. I can give you but one piece of advice: choose something unexpected. No one expected elements of religion in a science fiction movie, but there they are.

Choosing something that no one expects is the best way to make a story that’s yours. Be the writer who surprised the reader. Come above the sea of boring, predictable writers and actually ENTERTAIN your reader. But I can’t tell you how to be predictable. Decide for yourself on something that would be the defining element of your story. In other words, something that surprises you.

But if you by chance decide to write a more generic-sounding story, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad or boring. Tolkien’s work is a pretty standard fantasy novel, but this doesn’t keep it from being a classic. Remember, a neat little quirk that you work in doesn’t guarantee success, but makes your work stand out.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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