Spill the tea: What counts as an original idea?

I was writing the latest chapter of my interactive novel when this thought suddenly hit me. So, I’d like to jot down a few thoughts about it.

Creators need inspiration every once in a while. Sometimes it’ll hit you out of nowhere. Sometimes you have to look for it. But when we find it, our creative juices start to flow, and we create something magical.

Whatever you create from that inspiration, would you say that it’s an original idea, though? It would be a stretch to call it plagiarism. If that were plagiarism, everyone would be guilty.

The videos we watch. The words we read. These were likely inspired by someone else. Those people probably got inspired by others. In the end, it’s like a domino effect of exchanging ideas. But could you call that your own?

There are tons of dramas I watched that follow similar patterns. Some of these patterns are character stereotypes. You get the kind of clumsy, ditzy female lead, and then there’s the cold, brooding and mysterious love interest.

While there are differences, the overall character is still very similar to other dramas. You could probably pluck characters out of their dramas and place them in another similar storyline, and there wouldn’t be much of a difference.

I’d like to mention the characters and storyline from Hotel Del Luna and Goblin. These two Korean dramas are very similar but also very different.

In Hotel Del Luna, the female protagonist, Jang Man Wol, is repenting for her sins. For that, she can’t move on to the afterlife until her heart changes. In Goblin, the premise is similar. The male protagonist, Kim Shin, is cursed by the Almighty to live forever until he meets his bride, who can remove the invisible sword from his body.

Jang Man Wol is initially a protagonist looking for revenge, but she warms up to Gu Chan-sung. Kim Shin is the brooding, mysterious type who becomes happier as he slowly falls in love with his wife. These characters are similar but very different at the same time.

I didn’t notice this similarity until I watched a review on Hotel Del Luna on YouTube. On their own, they both sound like completely original ideas. Or maybe it was already obvious. And I was too slow.

So, I guess what makes an idea original is putting your own spin on an existing idea.

And when that idea comes into existence, someone else may take it and put their own spin on it, thus making it their original idea.

I think everyone thinks differently when it comes to creativity. What you might do to an idea or want to create, someone else may have never thought about it.

I’ll end the post by saying that I think originality comes from evolving ideas. Everyone is continuously building on something. And because everyone thinks differently in terms of creativity, ideas will be forever evolving, making them unique and, well, original.

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