If YOHIO is unknown to you, here’s all you need to know: his latest hit. He did not quite make it in the Swedish national competition for the Eurovision Song Contest, but did receive the majority of the people’s votes. Sweden likes him. And why? I’ll tell you why, and I’ll also tell you how this reason can be worth keeping in mind while writing any kind of creative work.
Obviously this 17-year old Swedish star is a personal favourite of mine, but whether you like him or not, I think his unique image can teach aspiring (and accomplished) writers a simple but valuable lesson: be original.
Nobody likes a copycat and although the writing might be decent, the after taste will be somewhat sour if your material relies to heavily on already published works. I’m all for intertextuality – salute it, even! – but there’s a fine line between referencing, borrowing, and stealing.
The genre I mostly write in is Fantasy, admittedly a genre which can oftentimes feel repetitive and inbred. Without mentioning specific titles, perhaps you can think of a few works that reminded you of earlier ones…
But where there is risk, there is opportunity. This is where YOHIO comes in. His style is unique in our country – probably even in Europe – and we have quite honestly never seen anything like it done by a Swedish singer! On paper it is music, it is a solo boy artist – and we’ve got plenty of those – but his image is new, fresh, and exciting. And he does it regardless of any muttering critical voices.
In writing my YA novel, I sometimes feel that parts of it is dry and unoriginal. So I cut it out, edit, and reinvent. In other words, I make it my own. We already read Eliot, Larson, Childs, Dickens, and [insert author of choice]. Nobody is asking you to write what they already have written – and few would want you to.
Take a leaf out of wonderful and one-of-a-kind YOHIO’s book – create and become your own unique writing vision!