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John Lennon’s Rolls Royce

I recently heard a writer — I can’t remember where — discussing the topic of genre. As an advocate of outlining and classic plotting, she pointed out that while genres can be merged, bent, and turned upside-down, there is one facet of storytelling that never needs to change: solid structure that has been proven correct time and time again over the course of thousands of years of storytelling.

In other words: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Nothing new under the sun and all that.

To support her point, she used the obscure analogy of John Lennon’s 1965 Rolls Royce Phantom V, on which he applied a custom paint job in the style of a Romany gypsy wagon.

rolls royce lennon

Notice how he didn’t change a thing about the car, which is what many lesser designers might do. No fifth wheel, no rumble seat, no sunroof, no front machine gun. No reinventions whatsoever. Lennon kept the car’s classic structure as-is, and simply put a layer of originality on top of it.

The writer’s analogy is a good one, and applies to any art form. (Although a front machine gun on that thing would still be tits.)

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