OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Originality is an illusion

A Skugger's point of view by Rudy Rucker

You might have heard that there’s only 7 basic plots, and that every type of story has been told, every type of character is just a rehash of another, and every fantasy world is just a rip-off of Lord of the Rings, and every story about spaceships is just a rip-off of Star Trek. Essentially…

Nothing is original any more

We recently posted an article by Steven Savage discussing the worries of originality, and essentially there’s only one thing to do about it…

Don’t worry

That’s right don’t worry. Worry might put a stop to your amazing idea, which is going to blossom into a brilliant and complex creative story. Don’t let that happen, just enjoy yourself!

Everything IS original in its own way

So you’ve created a game set in a Fantasy world. There’s elements that are similar to Lord of the Rings, sure. But there’s always one thing that’ll make it unique. You are writing the story. Sure, it might have some parallels with another story, but you’ve got chance to affect the story yourself and write unique stuff about your own character’s actions.

So you’ve created a game about people living on a spaceship visiting different planets, and you’re worried it’s too similar to Star Trek. You’re already making it original by writing it from the point of view of your character. Even if you match every plot in every Star Trek episode it’ll still be different because you’re in control, bringing your own originality through your own characters.

Top image is by Rudy Rucker.


  • Gorman Gorman

    Tori Amos once said, “There are only ten ideas. What makes them different is how you spice them.”

    • Very well said, “spice” is a good metaphor for the variety of alternatives.

      • Jaxx

        And from that idea we got the Spice Girls 😉

  • Silent Hunter

    Many things in the sci-fi world are similar to ‘Star Trek’. If it didn’t create the trope, it’s a major example of it.

    • But does that mean every TV show or film about people on a spaceship should be compared to it?

      • Jaxx

        No sir. I have seen over a hundred space shows and many of them have a non-Treky theme to them. If anything more shows resemble Star Wars these days in one way or another.

        • Silent Hunter

          However, they may have elements in there. Captain Kirk is a stand out example – and probably worthy of an article in his own right here.

          • Jaxx

            Oh so you are referring to a character stand point as opposed to a theme stand point. In that case Kirk is not the original for his personality. The comic books Superman and Captain America came before him and many black and white movies had characters like that before such as John Wayne, Charles Bronsen, Bruce Jenner, Clint Eastwood and so on. That Mary Sue personality was created a long time ago by someone who died long before I was born.