Momma Mia! We all remember Colin Firth's character and his search for spontaneity or his claim that he was acting spontaneously.
We all, writers included, tend to stay in safe waters, holding close that which comforts us. It's true. Seldom do we push ourselves to that next level unless shoved by another force. Years ago, when I started writing, somebody passed me a list of genres and how they all are basically the same in theory and plot.
Romance: Boy finds girl. Fall in love. Boy loses girl to another boy. Boy fights enemy, wins. Gets girl back.
Sci-Fi: Boy finds girl. Fall in love. Boy loses girl to alien. Boy fights alien, wins. Gets girl back.
Western: Cowboy find cowgirl. Fall in love. Cowboy loses cowgirl to Indians. Fights Indians, wins. Cowboy gets cowgirl back.
Fantasy Dwarf boy finds elf girl. Fall in love. Dwarf boy loses elf girl to elf boy. Dwarf boy fights elf boy, wins. Dwarf boy gets elf girl back.
I think you see the theme. It is the same, monotonous story line with just a couple of different twists to make each book somewhat different. If you've ever listened to some music, many recording artists get a hit and then use the same tempo, beat, melody, whatever in the next big-hit wonder. Working on what worked.
We've all watched the horror movies and it seems, without a doubt, at some point, a young blond damsel will run from the house, shrieking and only wearing the sheerest and smallest possible panties to stay above the "X" rating. She WILL get killed. Just like the running joke -- If you're on Star Trek and wearing a red shirt headed down to the planet -- uh, don't make reservations for the evening meal, you're not coming back. You will be the fodder to save the stars of the show. A Navy buddy of mine had a brother who was offered a part on a 1968 television Star Trek show. He wore a red jersey, went planet-side and never returned. He thought it was his "big" chance - or as his agent had told him "with the possibility of a recurring role."
So what with the spontaneity title?
You've written your G.A.N (Great American Novel) and hope to hawk it and make a bazillion dollars... or at least more than $1.98. It's an epic fantasy in the style of J. R. R. Tolkien. Okay, not quite that elaborate, more of a simpler fantasy where a knight, an elf, a dwarf, a has-been wizard and village orphan go on a quest to gain the knight's right to marry the princess. Ho-hum. Oh, wait, a twist. The orphan is really the king's long lost son. Ho-hum. Another twist! The wizard will be reborn or find he is the great and powerful Merlin. Ho-hum. It is so typical of quest story lines. There has to be something more, something to make this story stand out from any other.
How about the elf is really the princess in a disguise and she is able to see the knight's true self. He isn't the hero she thinks he is, but instead a thief and sneak who lets other step up to the task at hand and then take the glory at the end? He takes the last of the food, pockets extra gold and is a hard-ass to those around him. And, at the same time, she discovers that the orphan is really a better man, all the while, trying to fend off the lusty advances of the dwarf? All this is happening while on the quest for a scale of the golden dragon to impress the princess who is supposed to be sitting, pining, back at the castle. Now THAT is a story with some kick.
Now that I re-read that last paragraph I have come to realize that I've written a pretty good story there. So guess what I'm going to be doing when I finish this blog? I got me a kick-ass story to write. LOL.
Again, spontaneity is necessary in writing. You can't just rewrite the same ho-hum story with a little twist here and a tweak there. Yes, sparkly vampires were a new twist, but really? Vegetarian? Vampires are suppose to scare you, not be something dreamy that you want to become. The same holds true for the werewolf. They are a person who is tormented by the beast within -- not some muscle-bound hottie you can't wait to sleep with. Next thing, you'll see Frankenstein doing a soft-shoe tap on stage ... oh wait, it's been done already. Great Gene Wilder movie! Now there was some spontaneity.
As I have mentioned several times before, when I write, sometimes the characters will take over the writing and scene. That is spontaneity. Let it flow. With my one book, it added another five chapters to the story with some great scenes and action. One of my beta-readers said it was the best part of the book and kept her so enthralled at the doctor's office, she almost missed her name being called. Again, spontaneity!
So, in your book, boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Try something new, add a twist. Boy meets girl. Boy tries to lose girl. Girl walks away. Boy wants girl back and HE CHASES HER until SHE is ready to CATCH HIM. See? Spontaneity. Something different.
Until next I ramble on...