Posted: September 1, 2010 in Wednesday's Writing Tip
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To order a Duffy book, click on one of the covers to the left.

Trying to figure out what good writing is like trying to understand why a sunset is pleasant to look at it.

Good writing is original.

It makes you think.

I have an investment that pays whether you live, die or become disabled--you're interested, right?

It CAN be about the same thing others write about if it presents an original thought, angle or take on something.

There’s nothing original about writing about Glenn Beck being scary. But you could right about how he’s similar to that nerdy guy in high school who got really good at selling life insurance later in life and now thinks he’s really, really cool.

Writing about the Yankees having too much money is tired. Writing like Rick Reilly and saying that cheering for them is like watching a movie and hoping Brad Pitt gets the girl.

You see the difference.

But trying to hard to be different isn’t different. It’s tired too.

I’ve got a related pet peeve–absurd names for rock ‘n roll bands. For awhile meaningless names kind of highlighted the angst of alternative rock. Now I just find it annoying. For some reason the band name “My Morning Jacket” pisses me off.

I’ve never heard them.

It’s why clichés suck.

It’s why comedians doing gags about how women take too long to get ready, how men never ask for directions and how old people eat dinner early aren’t funny.

Coming up with something different is hard work. It’s not safe and you can fail. That’s why people don’t do it.

That’s why writing is hard.

  1. Amy says:

    Writing about Glenn Beck: Unoriginal.
    Writing about vampires: Unoriginal.
    Writing about Glenn Beck, who is really a vampire that is planning to brainwash all humans in a sinister plot for world domination: wholly original, and well worth the risk of trying something new.

  2. tjs9261 says:

    That’s what I’m talking about!

  3. D. B. Dean says:

    how about michael moore as a coniving tale spinning earth gnome?

    And T – ar eyou saying I should be original but not too original…crap…your making this all very hard…

    back to my book about a single woman inher 30s looking for a man, thats wholey original 😀

    • Maria C says:

      Yes! He can live in the Rabbit Lady’s basement in Flint, “Pets or Meat?”

      And being original is more about being able to convey a unique perspective — that or you’ve gotta have outstanding artistry.

      • D. B. Dean says:

        an original persepective or one written in such a way everyone identifies with and invisions themselves in the role.

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