Nothing kills a writer’s spirit more than excitedly telling someone their story idea, only to be told ‘oh so-and-so wrote that.’ The word originality gets thrown around a lot, often about lofty literary books no one wants to read or used to taunt genre writers. Be original. You can’t be interesting if you’re not original.
Who the fuck cares about being original?
No one can write your story but you. It doesn’t matter if the general theme or the vaguest plot summary has been done before. It’s your story. Your experiences and what you bring into it make it unique.
Don’t make the mistake of trying too hard. The ‘I have to make this different’ mantra has ruined many a good story. Follow your instincts. It will save you a lot of hassle down the road.
Write what you want. I don’t care if it’s been written before. Do you know how many decent ‘person gets sent to magical school’ books out there before and after Harry Potter? Do what you want!
The great thing about writing the story you want to read is you’re doing it because no one else has. not quite in the way you want. That’s where the originality comes from, not forced quirkiness that is painful to write and comes off hollow.