As I’ve mentioned, I write fan fiction. That means I’m working in an established world with established characters and an established history. While some fan fiction writers go AU (alternate universe/reality) with their stories, changing whatever they want as they play in someone else’s world, for the most part, I try to be true to the story the original author told.
Because of that, it limits some possibilities. Even so, the challenge is always to bring something new to the table. There are a million love stories, battle stories, fantasy stories, etc. and many have similar details. A guy and a girl falling in love is standard in a romance, but how they get there isn’t. Unfortunately, some writers keep using the same scenarios over and over. If I tell you a story wherein John and Mary meet, fall in love and live happily ever after, you are not going to want to read a second story that I write wherein I merely change the characters’ names to Bob and Sue, but pretty much tell you exactly the same story with exactly the same details. Each time I tell a story, I need to bring something new to it, and so do you.
In my case, I have to think of scenarios for meeting that are ‘possible’ within the already existing timeline/scenario set by the author. Anything the author didn’t originally tell his readers then becomes the fodder for finding new stories. Tolkien told us how Faramir and Eowyn met in Lord of the Rings. But he did not tell us how Eomer and Lothiriel met. He tells us they married and had a son named Elfwine, but he never explored their history/story or told us much of them. (Some even say Lothiriel and Elfwine are not canon characters since they did not appear in the main story line, but in additional writings of Tolkien.)
So, if I want to write about Faramir/Eowyn, I either have to flesh out the details of how Tolkien said it happened, filling in gaps that he didn’t bother to mention as to their meeting and falling in love, or I have to pick up my story after they’ve met and continue on from there into the unknown. But if I write Eomer/Lothiriel, so long as I follow the details of history and the timeline, I have a lot more leeway in the story I tell.
But that’s just part of it. I’ve written many Eomer/Lothiriel stories. Others have also. So why write another one? There isn’t any point (not even I would want to read it), if a new story didn’t bring something new and creative to the tale.
The same is true for anything we write, even completely original works. Find something new to say or explore about love at first sight. Find a creative way to storm the castle and defeat the evil king. Find/create new and different characters, with different personalities. Not all dwarves should sound and act like Gimli. Not every medieval fantasy requires elves that look and act like Legolas. Love at first sight doesn’t happen exactly the same way for everyone.
It’s easy to copy details that another writer has already dreamed up and written, but we are writers, not transcribers. We should be creating our own details, or looking at them in new ways, or exploring things they didn’t touch on.
Be the daisy growing in the bed of roses. Find something different to say. Then you might not be lost in the crowd.