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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine Husom | 41 comments “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9. These words are attributed to King Solomon. In the context of our writing and reading lives, I believe they are fairly true. We are humans. We are born, live, and die. Our experiences and lives are similar to some, vastly different from others, but we share the commonality that we are all people who love, hate, feel indifference, on and on. People do things to us that are both good and bad. An array of circumstances call for our response on a regular basis.

As writers, we know there are basic themes and plots. If there is nothing new under the sun, how do we spin our stories so they look different, fresh? What can we do to make them stand apart from others? As readers, what do you look for in the books and stories you read? Do you enjoy struggles between the characters, or other forces? Would you rather read a fast-paced, or slow-paced book? How about stories told in first or third person? Is setting important?

What are your thoughts? Tell me if you think there really is something new under the sun in books or stories you’ve read.

message 2: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie Hansen (sherrieh) | 51 comments I find many things in books that are creatively done and new to me, although I'm sure they're nothing new to people who are more widely read. As for my own writing, I believe I have a unique voice, and unique experiences and thoughts that help me weave a story together in a way that only I can do. No one else can tell our stories, if we're writing from our hearts. If we're trying to devise a plot, then it's probably going to be more mechanical and less unique. If we as writers keep living life to its fullest and are not afraid to share our innermost fears, thoughts and passions, our writing will always be unique and fresh.

message 3: by Virginia (new)

Virginia (virginianosky) | 4 comments Tolstoy said there are only two plots: A man leaves on a journey; a stranger comes to town. But the world changes minute by minute, so new stories are always happening, even in that context. And when you stop to think of it of Tolstoy's's broadly true. Virginia
RING OF FIRE out Sept. 1

message 4: by Mickey (new)

Mickey Hoffman My grandfather used to laugh when my parents went to see a play. He said, "Why bother? They are all either about old kings or a love story. If it's about love, if he wants, she don't want and if she wants, he don't want and anyway, they both end up dead."
I don't know how to follow that up, really.

message 5: by Virginia (new)

Virginia (virginianosky) | 4 comments Sounds like opera, but the lovers have to sing for a while, stagger around, fall, get up, warble some more, then finally collapse before the lights come up.

message 6: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda (rhondak) I have a less jaundiced view of things and believe that, much as one ought to examine his or her own life constantly, we possess the ability to become individuals by our differences only through great effort. Thus while it is fine to quote Ecclesiastes from the first chapters, it is perhaps more revealing to wait until his much more enlightened conclusions at the end of the book
While it may be true, ostensibly, that there are repetitions of the same story lines over and over, the differences are the way in which each is presented. If Shakespeare, for example, elicited the same reactions as Eugene O'Neil because the plots were essentially the same, I should have quit my life a long time ago. All differences are not in the basics, but in the details.
While I have long been bothered by popular literature which seems to serve the purpose of some sort of erudite elite who read the New York Times, I suggest that there is a great deal more to things than just a narrow dictatorial view of what is exciting. In this regard at least, I recognize someone's right to like chick lit (which I think is mostly porn for women) and vampire books. Still good literature ought to do more than help pass the time. In fact, the greatness of literature remains in its ability to lift the human spirit up and out of the humdrum into another place where one might examine the world in a different way. When we return, hopefully we return moved and changed. The story may sound familiar, but the greatness of the human spirit appears limitless in its ability to manifest subtle observations which make a difference.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) I think reading books isn't necessary about discovering something unique per se. That's great when it happens. It's more about seeing how the author gets from point A to Z. :)

message 8: by Marian (new)

Marian (gramma) | 9 comments Some of us read books to get away from it all -SF, fantasy,also different cultures, times, ect. Right now, I am on a middle ages kick - strictly for pleasure. If you pared every book down to its core, yes, they would be similar stories, but the persons those events happen to, the times & places where they live, there are always new ways of looking at the same old things.

message 9: by Sheila (new)

Sheila | 51 comments Nothing new under the sun, but there are always ways new to us of looking at things. Books make us see through different eyes.

message 10: by Tom (new)

Tom (tommyro) | 13 comments There's a great scene in one of George Orwell's novels - I think it's Coming Up for Air - in which the hero, a young fellow, visits his former classics professor, who is well-read in Plato. The conversation turns to Hitler's recent rise to power. The elderly professor adopts the jaded view about Hitler and the Nazis that there's nothing to worry about because he's just another dictator and they've seen it before because there's nothing new under the sun. The hero politely begs to differ that there might be something different about this fellow Hitler. The 20th Century gave a lie to the notion that there's nothing new under the sun. The folks at Hiroshima and Nagasaki certainly found that out when we brought a new sun down to earth.

Whenever someone sits at a keyboard and types, there is most definitely something new under the sun and I'm curious about what it is.

I get out of bed every day because I'm hoping that this is going to be the day that I discover the greatest book I've ever read.

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