One of the things we frequently see as agents are submissions that fall under one of three categories:
- Out of date
- Not in touch with reality
- Too "out there"
Honoring the Past While we want stories that are innovative and take on a new direction, we have to remember that readers are drawn to certain genres or authors because of the tradition the story has. We like the mystery element of romantic suspense, we love the dialogue and the relationship building in a Regency - things like this put us in a comfort zone. We know what we will expect. Successful writers know how to keep at least one foot in the past, maintaining a little bit of the tradition, but still giving us something new.
Living in the Present This one is key. When we we read a story, we want to see the things that are important to the people living today. Themes, issues, and personal problems need to be something the present day population can relate to. Even if you write a historical, the themes need to be something the reader can connect with.
Create the Future This is the part that connects with the past. I have mentioned it before, but readers don't want to read what is already out there. We don't want carbon copies of stories that are already in print. We get bored with those stories. Been there, done it. Instead, we want to see a new twist, a new turn or a new angle to the genre you are writing.
As an author, it is crucial to keep your feet in all of these areas to be successful.
See you on Monday!