Monday, October 27, 2008

We want something different... HUH?

So, I was recently asked what it means when an agent (or an editor) is asking to see something different in the submissions. What on Earth do we mean?

We are not asking for a writer to go out and write something so out there that it won't sell. What we are looking for is a new perspective on the genre you are writing. If it is a regency, can you look at it from someone else's perspective? What about from a character that might have been living on the outskirts of the town. Sure, the Ton can play a role, but what about someone other than in the peerage?

I think what I see more than often is someone with a story that really is different, but frankly, is something that will just not sell because it is TOO DIFFERENT. I have said this before, but if you have a hard time putting it into a genre, then think about the agents who have to sell it to select editors, or the editors who have to sell it to the booksellers. There has to be a place for your story.

Now, just taking a story and putting it in another location or time doesn't fix the problem. In the case of paranormals, just calling the person a "shapeshifter" or putting the werewolf in Medieval France is not making the story different. Guess what, it is still a werewolf and the odds are, the darn hero is that brooding and depressing guy... AGAIN.

When I look at submissions, I don't want to read something and enter the following descriptor in my submission log: "Same Old, Same Old." And yet I do, more often than not.

There are plenty of stories out there still left to be told. Don't copy but create!

Have fun writing!



  1. It's funny how the comments are quiet in regards to this topic. Different yet marketable? How does one walk that line? As a person with a full out, I wonder where I am on The List? Is it same old, same old or Hey, I got to chapter six and I love it!

    I think about the book (pulitzer winner)A Confederacy of Dunces. I have tried to read this book three times yet to no avail I still go huh?
    Where does the magic lie?

  2. I always wondered if that meant taking the world building a step further. Different in that it's more complete, more rounded in the idea.

    Granted, a werewolf story is a werewolf story, however, if the world is more thought out, more in depth, would that be a better way to do it?

  3. Yup. I say again, apart from a truly original idea, such as the one resulting in the first "Jurassic Park," most everything else is just the slightest twist on the same old, same old,& i now believ readers honestly want that, and am redirecting my queries to this end, just enough so thst one cannot be accused of plagiarism.
    I do notice the so-called market is caught off-guard almost every year by the best-seller of the moment, which actually gives one hope. No one knows what might catch on, and that is good. Best thing anyone can do is develop a market for one's name, like nora Roberts or Harlan Coban. and then stick with that formula.Good news.