Familiarity vs. Originality. Or: One Two Three Four! Let’s Rock!

I don’t worship originality. To paraphrase Roger Ebert, a story is not what it’s about, but rather how it’s about it.

I believe that there’s a time and place to retell old stories with new words — to let your hair down and rock out with your cock out.

A good basic genre story is like a three-chord pop song: simple and to the point, with something about it that makes the familiar fun again. Too much innovation can break the comfort-food pleasures of genre in ridiculous ways, like a prog musician mistaking complexity for depth. (I’ll take The Ramones over Yes any day.)

One of my ongoing projects is to write riffs on familiar genre stories to see if I can wring a few fresh drops of blood out of them — some of them are tongue in cheek, with the familiarity of the tropes as part of the joke.

It’s a fun thing to do. Pointless, of course, but most fun things are. So why not.

thatsthejoke

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