Originally Posted by crich70
What are some tricks that seem to work well for keeping ideas fresh? I mean take Science Fiction or Horror or even Westerns as an example. They each have standard props based on the genre. Science fiction has robots, space ships, etc Horror has ghosts and Vampires and other such and Westerns have cowboys, indians, rustlers, the open range and such things. Just wondering how others have found ways to keep their writing fresh while still within the boundaries of the genre's. I mean there are standard types of stories within each genre. Westerns would be things like a ranch being in danger of a hostile takeover by another rancher or the hero vs. the local gunfighter or something for example.
Start by loosening up your ideas of what constitutes genre. Standard props / tropes / themes may be hallmarks of their respective genres, but they aren't fences.
I find it interesting that you include Horror in your example, because it's pretty wide open. You can write Horror in any setting, with any character types. In Horror, the antagonist can literally be nothing except the protag's own mind / emotions. Sure, spooky house with ghosts or vampires, but also the innocent looking old lady at the corner grocery store. ANYTHING can be scary.
Genres serve a few purposes, but the primary one of value to a reader is finding books that match what they are looking for. As long as you stay within the wider definition of a given genre, you're not required to stick to an arbitrary checklist of story elements.
Do you feel a particular need to write in genre? I ask because, sometimes, a story just doesn't want to be pigeonholed on the front end. Write it, then decide where someone might go to find that story.