on Writing Forward:
Most storytellers strive to write fresh, original stories. They’re hoping to come up with an idea that’s never been done before.
Is that even possible?
Most stories are built with universal structures, or they use elements that can be found in the plethora of stories that already exists. That’s why readers can often predict the outcome of a plot (we’ve seen that plot structure before) or why some characters feel familiar, cliché, or stereotypical (we’ve seen those characters and their problems before).
But if it’s true that every story contains elements of stories that came before, then why do some stories feel original, even if they’re not?