Ideas. They are funny things. Some strike us like lightning and some hide from us and only give us hints of what they are when they feel like it. Lots of ideas have been done and some are just a twist of an existing idea. Here's what I mean.
Everyone, for the most part, knows what Twilight is about--vampires and werewolves. So what made it different besides super hype? The author twisted it. Who would of thought of vampires walking around in the daytime. I'm mean, really, it's not the first thing you think of when think vampires. I'm a vampire fan at heart, thanks to Bram Stoker, so yes, I'm old school. I love Lestat (Ann Rice books), Buffy and Angel, but I never thought about sending a vampire into daylight, and if they did hit the sunshine, I thought inferno, not sparkly. So whether you like it or not, Stephanie Meyer took an idea and twisted it and it worked (of course, there are some other factors, but that's for another day).
Taking an idea and twisting it can work, but sometimes it's hard to break the mold. When we like something it's sometimes hard to change our perception of it. It's like we are breaking the rules, and as we all know, rules can be broken.
So, how can we twist something? First off, do it as an exercise. Take an idea or story that you like. Start asking yourself--what if? Yes, it works. What if this took place on another planet? What if the main character could fly? What if this took place years ago? See what I mean. The idea you started with may only be a faint paint stroke in your full masterpiece, but you started it there.
Another exercise I used to do is write characters into TV shows and movies. What if Obi-Wan had a secret lover? See, ideas start to flow.
For me, I use this as an exercise to strengthen my writing. My head is full of ideas that come from all sorts of influences so my stories are a mash of many different things. Yes, my brain is on full throttle most of the time. The thing I see is many stories that are re-tellings or "based on" type of thing so I thought I would share my thoughts. Let's face it, we are all influenced by something.
What are you influenced by?
Have a great day!!