It’s been said there’s nothing new under the sun. Ideas are all the same! So how then do you make sure that Idea you have that seems very familiar to something you’ve watched or read doesn’t end up like a copy paste? I have a few tips below.

Mali, a Kenyan show I worked on had a similar concept to Lies that bind. A father dies leaving a gap as people fight over his property. The two shows were made completely different because of the characters involved and the twists and turns, the stakes were the same, the two families wanted the money, but the obstacles and complications were completely different. See below a few tips on how to make that story idea fresh.

  1. Swap the gender of the main character: I gave this example a few weeks ago, if you’re working on a story on domestic violence, switch genders and instead of the wife being the victim as is always portrayed, make it the husband…or even better a teenage child who is affected psychologically by the fights between his parents, seeing this story from another characters Point Of View will help bring in the freshness required to your story idea.
  2. Swap the setting:  If your idea feels close to a setting you know, how about changing the setting and seeing what that does to your story? E.g if you wanted to do an upmarket story but feel like you’ve seen that setting before, take the story to a ghetto, to a village or even better ‘Mathare’ (facility for the mentally unstable)
  3. Swap the genre:  Are you disturbed that the concept you have feels like something in a genre you’ve watched? How about trying to change the genre? If it was a drama how about pushing it to a thriller? Or a comedy? You will be amazed just how everything changes when you change the genre of what you’re working on. The rules of writing comedy are different from writing horror or thrillers and you’ll get different results.
  4. Make sure your obstacles and complications are different: Don’t give your protagonist the same obstacles and complications you’ve seen or read about, make the obstacles and complications fresh and new, something we’ve never seen before and even if we have seen before, make sure the way they react to what you throw their way is different. This will help your story idea stay fresh.
  5. Different Story, familiar Human emotions: If you forget everything else I’ve said above, don’t forget this. The reason we watch and read stories is because of what they make us feel, never forget that, so in as much as you want your story idea to be fresh, the emotions we feel as the story progresses have to be familiar so that we can go on this journey with your characters.

There you go, a few tips to help you freshen up that story idea.  Feel free to leave comments below on more tips or anything else related to story.

Happy Creating and Happy Writing!


  1. Very helpful! Most importantly, I’ve learnt that evoking the audience’s emotions while telling the story is everything. Thank you.

Leave a Reply