From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: Potter Wars

101 creative writing exercises - potter wars

From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: “Potter Wars.”

101 Creative Writing Exercises is jam-packed with fun and practical writing exercises.

You’ll learn useful writing techniques while gathering ideas and inspiration for all your creative writing projects.

Experiment with fiction, poetry, freewriting, journaling, memoir, and article writing.

Today, I’d like to share an exercise from “Chapter Five: Fiction.” This creative writing exercise is titled “Potter Wars.” Enjoy!

Potter Wars

A lot of artists struggle with the desire to write original material. Of course we all want to be original, but is that even possible?


Some say there are no new stories, just remixed and rehashed versions of stories we’re all familiar with. When we say a piece of writing is original, a close examination will reveal that it has roots in creative works that preceded it.

Most of us writers have had ideas that we shunned because we thought they were too similar to other stories. But just because your story idea is similar to another story, perhaps a famous one, should you give up on it?

Look at this way: everything already exists. The ideas, plots, and characters—they’re already out there in someone else’s story. Originality isn’t a matter of coming up with something new, it’s a matter of using your imagination to take old concepts and put them together in new ways.

To test this theory, see if you can guess the following famous story:

A young orphan who is being raised by his aunt and uncle receives a mysterious message from a stranger. This leads him on a series of great adventures. Early on, he receives training to learn superhuman skills. Along the way, he befriends loyal helpers, specifically a guy and a gal who end up falling for each other. Our hero is also helped by a number of non-human creatures. His adventures lead him to a dark and evil villain who is terrorizing everyone and everything that our hero knows and loves.

If you guessed that this synopsis outlines Harry Potter, then you guessed right. But if you guessed that it was Star Wars, you’re also right.

This shows how two stories that are extremely different from one another can share many similarities, including basic plot structure and character relationships, and it proves that writing ideas will manifest in different ways when executed by different writers.

If it’s true that originality is nothing more than putting together old concepts in new ways, then instead of giving up on a project that you think has been done before, you should simply try to make it your own by giving it a new twist.

The Exercise

Use the synopsis above to write your own short story. However, do not write a space opera or a tale about wizards.

Tips: One of the key differences between Star Wars and Harry Potter is the setting. One is set in a galaxy far, far away; the other in a magical school for wizards. One is science fiction; the other is fantasy. Start by choosing a completely different genre and setting and you’ll be off to a good start. For example, you could write a western or a romance.

Variations: Instead of writing a short story, write a detailed outline for a novel or novella.

Applications: This exercise is designed to demonstrate the following:

  • It’s not unusual for two writers to come up with similar ideas.
  • A vague premise or concept will be executed differently by different writers.

Instead of worrying about original characters and plots, focus on combining well-known elements in new ways.

101 creative writing exercises

About Melissa Donovan
Melissa Donovan is a website designer and copywriter. She writes fiction and poetry and is the founder and editor of Writing Forward, a blog packed with creative writing tips and ideas.

Comments

6 Responses to “From 101 Creative Writing Exercises: Potter Wars”

  1. Beckie says:

    What a great concept!
    Hmmm..I let my muse have her way with it while I work.
    Should be fun :)
    thanks

  2. Mikaela D says:

    Ha ha! Of course, I learned that there are only so many plot lines, but still, it’s funny to realize how one general summary can be taken in two vey different ways. Thanks for giving us such a great example. Now off to follow a tried and true line to a new adventure. ;)

  3. John Smith says:

    I completely agree with you that for doing something creative we have to learn something and most of the time we apply those concepts which we have learned so in some way we are using the concept which already exist, but the real creativity of writing is that how we create something which is inspired from some incidence or some text, but appears like a original compilation.