Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Be a First-Class You

The art of selling yourself to an agent or editor is a tricky one to figure out. They're looking for a fresh-feeling story ... but one that has a clear audience. That's why in marketing copy you so often see phrases like, "If you love The Hunger Games then you'll love this book too!"

These kinds of comparisons are fine and useful for marketing purposes. And they're helpful for readers too. But achieving a particular comparison should never be our goal. Striving to make your writing the next J.K. Rowling or the next Ally Carter or the next James Patterson will only water down those unique qualities of YOURS.

That's why I love this quote for today's Tuesday inspiration:


What's something unique about the story you're telling? How is it different than others you've read? What is it about this story that makes your heart quicken?

43 comments:

  1. Well......I am currently working on 2 books. I just started one, and I just finished the 6th chapter on the other. The one I just started (it's being called Fire and Ice right now) has half people, half bird people called Burdans. I think that's pretty unique :) The one I'm farther along on, Worlds Away..Is....different. The girl falls into a different world, and there are Elves, dwarves, men, and Wisps. Wisps are kind of like tree nymphs- their lives are connected to the trees. Another element that makes this story different is because races are not characterized by ears- it's their eyes. Wisps have green or brown, Elves have blue, dwarves have gray or black, and men have eyes that are red with streaks of yellow and orange. And if you haven't already guessed that this story is weird, the rulers are Likins- they can change what race they are :) This is going to sound really weird, but my favorite part of writing is injuring characters and stuff. It's fun to come up with different injuries. (For instance, I dislocated one of my characters shoulders....) Sorry about all that, Mrs. Morril! :D Thanks for reading this and running this wonderful website!!

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    1. Oh my goodness....You responded!! I'm so happy right now. Thank you so much!! :D

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    2. whoops...I just realized I only put one L in your name. Sorry about that!!

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    3. No problem! Didn't even notice :-)

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  2. I don't know what makes my WIP unique, but I admire how it brings Dragons to modern times and ties the creatures in with history. Even their motives, while seemingly cruel have a reason that entwines with that history.

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    1. That sounds cool!! I absolutely adore dragons. :)

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    2. You're welcome :)

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  3. One thing that's unique about my latest WiP is the setting/time period. It's high fantasy, so it's not set in a historical time period, strictly speaking. But most high fantasies are set in England, France, or maybe Germany or Spain in the middle ages. Mine is set in the Roman Empire. Also, the story is more of a coming of age story than your typical high fantasy.

    Wonderful post, Stephanie! I love that quote!
    ~Sarah Faulkner

    Inklined

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  4. Unique things about my stories...

    Different: About a homeschooler. With a big family. I don't see this...like, ever.
    Living Rain: It rains all the time in this country and my MCs are out to find out why and change it.
    Chords That Bind: Sort of fantasy/sci fi about music's influence on the character's minds and what happens as a result of it.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Amanda! I love how with Different, you're clearly writing about something that matters to you.

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    2. All three of yours look pretty cool to me, Amanda!

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    3. Thanks to all of you! :)

      It was surprising how easily that very brief statement of the unique parts came to me...usually I have trouble with that.

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    4. I actually have read some books about large families before, and did not like them, because they were not realistic..being the oldest of 11 kids myself... Are you part of a large family ? I hope you're book turns out good, because we need good books that accurately portray large homeschooled famlies :b

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  5. My story, A Ticket to Yonder, has some very unique characters....like a melancholy balloon, a walrus who thinks he's underweight, and a snooty ostrich named Richard. :P

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    1. Oh my, very unique indeed! The walrus reminded me of a book I read once called "Neversink." Have you heard of it?

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    2. I love it! The quirkiness reminds me of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with its manic depressed robot :)

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  6. Fantasy without magic is kind of different but the thing I like best about my books is the way the setting and the characters interact. My two main characters both love their country and while Roddy does in the normal way {he loves the people and wants to free them and all that normal stuff} Eric loves the land itself. I love that and I can never find enough books with it. I mean theirs Lucy Maud Montgomery but she loves all the pretty things. My Eric lives and breaths the earth and I try to write it so you can sense the thrum of the land below you and feel the weight of the sky above you. I try to make it too big and yet too small at the same time. Lost in space. And yet covering the whole world. I want my readers to smell the cotton growing and taste the coffee on the air. Worldbuilding to me means more than culture.

    I'm not there yet but I can feel it in my mind and someday I'll get it so people can read it and feel it too.

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    1. Please forgive my incorrect use of "theirs" I meant "there's"

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    2. That's so unique. And hard. I hope you get a hang of it, so we can all read it someday. :)

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    3. That sounds awesome! I like fantasies without magic. Mine is without magic :)

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    4. I love your willingness to do hard work for the result you're after. Sounds great, Anne-girl!

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  7. What makes my heart quicken? I know there is a certain scene in one of my manuscripts that brings tears into my eyes every time I read it. I remember the feeling when I read another manuscript after a long time and thought: Did I really write this? (In a positive way ;))
    Why my stories are different? I think because of the combination I use of characters and plot, I've never read the combinations I use before (and I hope they don't exist at all ;-))

    arendedewit.blogspot.com

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    1. I love it when I'm positively surprised by old manuscripts!

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  8. I'm sort of playing around with the idea of a high school book where the girl DOESN'T get the boy. Which happens like almost nowhere, I think. So we'll see how that goes. :)

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    1. That does sound unique if not a little sad... :)

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    2. Thanks! I'm wondering if I should make the boy an attractive guy that's trouble or an attractive guy that's actually nice. The first one would probably be easier to pull off, but I still might make him a nice person that's just not hers. :)

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  9. I'm writing a book about the near future where the leaders of a household are determined by whoever has the highest IQ. My MC is very intelligent and the government puts her in charge of her household, meaning she is in charge of her parents and has to make money for the family to survive. Aliens have recently landed on Earth but they live in separate areas from humans. The government forces my MC to house an alien for three months as part of a program to integrate them into the human's daily lives. Her Dad is in jail and she is supporting her Mom and three younger siblings.

    I have like 22 stories started on my computer but I'm not sure any of them are truly unique. I was never a part of the Vampire phase and I've never written Dystopian either so I hope that sets my work apart, for now at least :)

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    1. That sounds very fascinating!

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    2. That sounds amazing!! It is such a unique idea... I would so read it if you ever wrote it (:

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    3. Thanks guys! I'm usually confident in my plots, it's just the execution that tends to ruin things... :)

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  10. Over the past couple of years I have started novel after novel, come up with idea after idea, but although many of them garnered excitement from me, that feeling vanished quicker than a cat when they hear water running. And believe me, that's quick. So every last one has been retired. Except for the one I'm working on now. Usually by the time I get to writing Chapter 5, the feeling of excitement has begun to teeter. But this time it's just grown! I think it's because I'm finally writing the story I was meant to write. Unlike my other stories, I'm excited to finish chapters just to get others and I love ever chapter of it. I don't have any filler chapters that just bore me because nothing happen. Something new and funny always happens in each chapter and my characters are a crazy bunch of misfits to say the least.
    The plot of this story is kind of complicated yet not at the same time. My FMC is just a regular teenage girl until my MMC (who carefree attitude annoys her) stops stalking her (long story) and tells her she's a witch and is a member of a trio of magical girls who must protect the magical world. The other girls in the trio are a werewolf girl with a nose ring and Avril Lavigne style and a water nymph who dresses like a hippie and likes cheerleading. It's nothing like I've ever read yet still has something to it that could appeal to readers of YA fantasy. I've even come to describe it as "Charlie's Angels meets Harry Potter".

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    1. Charlie's Angels meets Harry Potter is a super fun concept. Very cool!

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    2. Thanks! I love both of the series so it makes sense that it's started to show in my writing.

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  11. A few weeks ago, I came up with an idea that I think is unique. I call it "The Clockshifter". My characters live in a city that is a very large skyscraper. Each year, the government choses The Clockshifter to go back in time and change history to promote the government. I like to describe it as "The Missing Series meets The Gollywhopper Games". I came up with something to go with it, "The Future is a lie. The Past is twisted. What is Truth?"

    www.elvishpensfantasticalwritings.blogspot.com

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    1. That sounds unusual. How does the government know whoever they're sending back won't be changing time in a way that works against them? Definitely would be good world building experience!

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