I usually say originality is overestimated. I even write a series of articles in an Italian webzine that use that bit as a catchphrase. Being original is important, but you can’t copyright ideas – in the end what counts is not what ideas you rub together to spark a story, but how you use those sparks. What you do with the ideas, where you go with them, where you drag the reader and how. That’s what’s got to be original – the execution.
I just posted an article – in the Nuts & Bolts series – on my Patreon about ideas and themes – where to find them, how to use them. I’ll have to expand that piece, but it’s a start.
And what happens when you don’t have original ideas?
You use what’s at hand.
You steal, borrow, recycle.
It’s allowed – there’s a book in the best-seller list, quite good, called Steal Like an Artist. It’s quite good.