It's really hard to be original. The compliment of 'original' is one I aspire to, but how do writers, musicians and artists keep their ideas fresh when they are bombarded with stories in the press, novels, TV, songs, film, gossip...? Hasn't every story and plot already been done gazillion times?
Well, yes. And, in my opinion, also, no. The basic plot may the be same, but the way it's told, the characters can be presented in a completely novel way. Or reinvented for a new audience, anyway. For example, I have recently read The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill.
The book takes a familiar story - the abuse and neglect of children - and turns it on its head by making you follow the accounts of two women, one the mother, in her year in prison following her conviction, and one the maid in the house, talking to a living link between the two families. It takes a shockingly familiar story and presents it in such a fresh way, the mother telling her story partly through the butterflies she collected, and the maid in a second person recollection, almost talking to herself while she relates the dark secrets of the past to the almost invisible visitor. Set in the 1890's in Portstewart, NI, it the idea came from a true case of a child killed in the town. I loved the way the mother was gradually revealed as more sympathetic and the maid as more complex and complicit as the book went on. Beautiful writing.
So, originality is always possible. They say there are only half a dozen basic plots yet they can be incarnated in a million different ways.
PS I've got a bit ahead of the A-Z so will catch up with P on Wednesday!