Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Have We Strayed From The Path? Unique or just plain weird?

I've been thinking about this all weekend and I think I have finally firmed up my thoughts enough to post this. Last week, the publishing world was introduced to a new "sub-genre??" with the emergence of dino-erotica. I know my thoughts seemed to be pretty consistent with many of the other editors and agents out there who saw it for the first time? What??????

Now don't get me wrong. Maybe some people are into that type of stuff. I don't know. What I do know is what I have seen in an increasing number of submissions lately. Writers seem to think that to be published, to get the attention of the editors and agents is to not simply be different or unique, but to go so far over the top that we have nothing to say other than, "You're right, there isn't anything like that out there."

I do believe that writers are missing the point when they hear editors and agents telling them that they are looking for something different. In simple terms, when we make the comment that we want something different, we are telling you that we don't want you to copy existing storylines. There is certainly nothing wrong with using familiar types of characters or story elements, but when the authors push it to the level of the only thing being different are the names or the location, then you haven't provided us something new.

So what are authors doing? The pendulum completely swings to the opposite side. I do think many authors who do this call it "pushing the envelope" but in reality, what we are seeing are stories emphasizing the strangeness of the twist and not the quality of the writing.

Now I am not saying that these authors cannot write well. The stories may be well crafted. But I do question if the sales of these books are coming from buyers who want to see if the story really is about what they thought it was. Will they continue to read the author. Personally, I doubt it. These books, in my opinion, become those one hit wonders.

For all of the authors out there asking "Do I have to be that weird to get published?" I am happy to report that you do not need to go to that level. Focus on telling a great story. Return to your roots of plot, theme setting, characters and conflict. You will find a great story there.

Of course, in the mean time, you can always flex your muscles this month on the Alien Vampire Bunny contest at Greyhaus Literary Agency.


  1. My thoughts exactly. When I first seen "dino erotica" I thought it was a joke or an SNL spoof. I googled it and could not believe that this was published or even a thought. It shows that someone will write anything to be the next big thing no matter what it is.

  2. Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts. I have a writing critique buddy who always says, "If you can tell a good story, your audience will find you."