It is something I often ask myself and I believe many rising authors do as well. But how do you determine if what you’ve written hasn’t been done already? Is it still possible to be completely original when so much has already been written and explored? I honestly believe that yes, it is quite possible but very difficult.
Why it is very difficult is because it requires written work not influenced by outside sources. But such a thing is impossible as these influences are often what inspires us to write. The books we read and the movies we watch influence us when creating characters and plot lines. This isn’t a bad side effect of media, its just something that we need to be conscious of.
There is also a consideration of association through similar concepts. Consider that any novel based on wizards from this point would be compared to Harry Potter. It might not always be the case and its more of a subconscious thought than a deliberate comparison. It is hard to escape this problem without putting some meaningful thought into the story. But I believe this is where it is possible to be original.
I believe originality now is based more on taking a familiar concept and putting a twist onto it that has yet to be previously explored. It could be something small or something quite drastic, but this change can create something new from something old. It is a simple concept that can be explored and played around with until you come across an idea that works. Consider the concept of a dictatorship on Earth ruled by Zeus and the other Greek Gods. It would be easy to use parallels to the mythology to add some flavour to the plot. Perhaps Hercules retains his strength as in the mythology but leads the rebellion against Zeus, unaware that Zeus is his father. With some careful thought, this could become a worthwhile novel.
I believe it is possible to be completely original, however there is a danger with that which often makes it a risky endeavour. When creating something completely original, there is always the danger of creating something that may seem so bizarre that readers may be left confused. This can be solved by putting time into exposition to clearly explain what it is and why it is happening. But I must stress that no matter how risky it feels, if you really do believe in your idea then by all means explore the concept and work on it. A new concept requires a lot of effort to make it work, but it can be worth it to see the product of your own ingenuity and determination.
P.S: I apologize for the very late post, these past few weeks have been very busy and stressful with final exams and moving. But I hope to return to the schedule of uploading at least one post a week!