By Tiffany Colter
Do you know that having a completely new concept will be a major turn-off to would-be publishers? While companies SAY they want innovation, they don’t mean a radical break from what already exists. You have to make a slight tweak to what is already there, a new way of looking at something old.
That is why you should never be discouraged when you see someone who has a similar book idea to yours. Remember, there are 3 main types of stories: Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man vs. Self. Then from there we have the subdivided more and more.
I remember one of my early books (this was about 8 years ago) was SO unique and innovative that only my husband knew about it. I was so excited by my cleverness.
Then I found it a year later in a bookstore.
I was devastated!! How would anyone ever discover me if my greatest idea was gone? Well, the truth is that all the stories have already been taken. Your job is to take something familiar and make it exciting. In Apollo 13 [the movie, not the event] I watched spellbound. We already knew the astronauts all made it home. In Schindler’s List, I knew the war would end. We always know in those kinds of movies. What keeps us reading? The adventure. The HOW we get to the end. The nuggets and details that make us WANT to follow the character through the process, even when we know the ending.
As writers, we cannot fear what others are writing. That fear will suck away all of our creativity. Instead, focus on our own story. Try to dig in deeper to the characters we’ve created to see why they’re likable, different, exciting, worthy of following.
Stephen King and Stephanie Meyer both wrote Vampire novels, both are quite famous. Even the Vampire Romance is a decades old genre. And the horror genre, likewise, quite old. What made these books different? We cared about the characters. We loved the familiar, and then the tweak to the familiar.
I’ve been married to my husband 16 years. We’ve been best friends since we were 17. Now that I’m in the last half of my 30s I know the guy pretty well. Still, even in that familiarity, there are surprises. He says something funny. He dedicates a song to me and makes my heart melt. He overcomes a new hurdle and makes me proud. We are the characters in the novels which are our lives. We can find new and exciting in them.
Our novels are a snippet in time of a single character in a single event. We can make that event exciting. We don’t need to be afraid of what the others have done before. We only need to focus on what we’re doing different. If we get excited about the story, so will our reader.
See you next week.
I will be speaking in Zanesville, OH, October 13th. Middletown, OH, October 20th. And The Woodlands, TX November 3rd. I hope to see some of you at these upcoming events. Details on my website and Facebook Page.
Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at writingcareercoach.com.