Today's class was very helpful to me. I tend to get caught up on having to have inspired, completely original ideas when I write, which tends to leave me with a lot of blank paper. I tried writing a musical when I was a freshman in high school and was crushed when I learned a satirical version of it was performed somewhere in Jersey. Last year I workshopped a song for a musical version of But I'm a Cheerleader, and got some songs together, before a friend told me someone beat me to the idea in a recent New York playwriting festival. That led me to jump to trying to be utterly original in my writing ideas. Although now that I'm writing this, that really sounds like an impossible feat, being that everything has already been written.
I liked what Jenny said about trying to write the story of Hamlet and that, even if you follow the basic plot points, you are not going to end up with Hamlet. So originality can be found in the most recycled plot or story line, which is a bit of a relief, but examples of this can be seen everywhere I suppose.
Also, if I were to write out quick one sentence blurbs on the basic points of some of my favorites plays and screenplays I know they wouldn't all come out sounding interesting or like something I would necessarily want to watch. I enjoyed What's Eating Gilbert Grape, but if I were to ask someone to sum up the plot points for me before having seen it I might have shrugged it off. On the other hand, there have been shows and films that sounded like almighty epic masterpieces, or at least a little tittilating, when in blurb form, but the end product was nothing special.
I remember reading References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot and loving it, but I can't write you an outline of events of the play to save my life. Partly that's bad memory over some years, but that's mainly due to the fact that I was so absorbed in the beautiful language of the play and the imagery he used that that is what I remember. I don't think it is always necessary to have an order of logical, sequential events to keep a story together or an audience captivated. Not like Die Hard or anything.