One of the hardest things about figuring out what to work on is that all my ideas either feel too familiar or too weird. Usually both at the same time. The elements I've seen in other stories make me go, "Oh, this is unoriginal. I can't write this." And the elements that I don't recognise from other stories make me think, "Oh, this is too weird. Seriously, who is going to like this?? I can't write this."
But I've been thinking a lot recently about how some of the absolute best things are things that don't sound like they should work. They don't sound like they should be successful. They're things that are weird and wonderful and so uniquely their creator. Basically, things that you try to describe to others and end up going, "OK, I know it sounds weird, but it's really good, I promise!"
Like Hamilton. Freaking Hamilton. It's a hip-hop Broadway musical about the founder of America's national bank. I mean, think about that for a second. Who reads a 700 page biography of one of the obscurer founding fathers and thinks, "Yes. This must be a musical"?? I doubt anyone except Lin-Manuel Miranda. And the result is genius. It's amazing. The world is obsessed.
And the show borrows a lot of stuff. It borrows from history, obviously, and it borrows from music history too. But the product is nothing but itself. Lin-Manuel Miranda believed in the story, and he told it, in ways both familiar and unfamiliar, and in ways 100% authentic to him. But if he ever sat and felt all self-doubt-y and wondered, "Is this idea too out there to work?", the answer would almost certainly have been, "OF COURSE IT IS." Who makes a hip-hop musical about Alexander Hamilton??? But now we're all endlessly singing about the Election of 1800 and quoting the Reynolds Pamphlet, because Miranda hit the perfect balance of familiarity and freshness and gave us something that no one else could have created. It works precisely because it seems like it shouldn't work, because it's not something we've really seen before.
So, you know. Your idea is not too weird or out there, as long as it feels like it represents you, and you put your heart into building it. And it's not bad for it have familiar elements and echoes of other things, because all art pays homage to the things that came before it. Anything can work, as long as you're passionate about it.
And how do you stop the nagging doubt voices that make you question whether you are actually passionate about it? Um. Well. If someone could let me know, that'd be swell.