Writing that novel or creating that cool independent film isn’t unlike creating a non-fiction book or video. The most succesful works choose a niche or genre and create something new.

The Harry Potter series was the product of J.K. Rowling’s efforts in creating fantasy genre content in the niche of children’s books. The Blair Witch Project was the result of filmmakers asking themselves what they could create in the low-budget horror niche that hadn’t been done before.

Rowling and the producers of The Blair Witch Project knew who their intended audience was. They created content for a very focused group that had wide appeal. When you write a book or screenplay, ask yourself these questions:

Who is this for? Have an idea of who you expect to read or see your content. “Everybody” isn’t an answer. That just means you have no idea who you’re targeting it for.

What can I bring to it? Take a look at your experiences and resources. Those help create a unique set of circumstances that you can use to make your creation original.

Am I trying to do something original or am I reflecting something else? There’s nothing wrong with being influenced or inspired by the works of others. Just don’t believe that because your book features a girl who goes to magic school to learn witchcraft and wizardry that your idea is nothing like Harry Potter and any comparisons are unfair. Be honest as to why you are tapping into a particular market. People who like one thing are likely to like more of the same – as long as it’s not a shoddy imitation.