I remember in my Folktales and Fairytales class how the professor talked about how all stories have already been written. (Or as Tolkien said, that we all borrow from the cauldron of story). And probably better than what we are doing. Yet this does not stop new writers from writing their novels.
I think it is important to know, as a writer, that its okay if what I am writing is not the best that’s ever been (because that’s already been done). Instead, I can take my time and knit and patch together all sorts of bits and pieces of a story until I’m left with something a little different.
Now that that idea is passed, I can move on to some examples. I have always been a fan of fairytales, and so I love reading books that rework fairytales such as Sisters Red, Ella Enchanted (my all time favourite book) and Throne of Glass. There is even Cinder. All these examples show that time and again, fairytales are great places to explore ideas.
Other places to explore for ideas are mythologies. Not just the Greeks and Romans like the Percy Jackson series did but also Egyptian, Roman, Irish, Mesopotamia and all the different North American myths. There is some much story to pull from, or to explore. I find that the romance books are not scared of going back in time and honouring the facts of the time period. But there is so much more you can do with these mythologies.
To think that some of the greatest fantasy fiction, and now science fiction, has been inspired by this mythical history.
Fairytales, Myths, and history. Not just ancient histories (though the germanic tribes are fascinating) but also the modern history that is not a decade away from us.
The wonderful part about writing is that we can never be short of inspiration. It’s all around us. We live, breathe, walk in the story. Really, the only difficult part of writing is staying inspired as we trudge through our vocabularies and try to encapsulate our ideas within the page.