February 4, 2015

My opinion on originality in storytelling is well documented. I’ve talked about it many times before. But for those who haven’t had enough of me talking about the fetishization of the unique, here’s another post.

A friend of mine is an aspiring filmmaker, and earlier today we were talking about stories. At one point he mentioned how he prefers telling unique stories, and I pounced.

After we talked for a while, with me endlessly hammering home the point that it’s not unique stories, but good stories, that we should endeavor to tell, I showed him this:

vemödalen – n. the fear that everything has already been done. From The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, by John Koenig.

After the video stopped, I patted my friend on the shoulder and said:

“Everything has been done before. Everything. Just decide what your line will be.”

Then I walked out of the room to him cursing, and saying that, despite it all, he was going to put it on Facebook … just like so many others before. We both had a good laugh at that.

What will your line be?

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By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.


  1. Reply


    How has your favorite story already been done? How has your own works already been done?

    1. Reply

      Stephen W. Gee

      In a thousand different ways. Nothing has been copied whole cloth, or at least not to my knowledge—that would be plagiarism—but I can tell where many of the constituent parts come from, and for my own work, I know exactly where they all come from.

      It’s as they say: If you think you’ve found something utterly unique, that means you just don’t know the references. I’m okay with cobbling together my worlds from the pieces I’ve found lying around.

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