I was talking with an author recently about her book. She was going on and on about the plot and the cool characters in the book. While these were indeed great, I finally had to stop her and ask a simple question. What made her story special? What was it that made her story stand out among all of the other books out there.
She was stumped.
This is really a problem that many authors have. They have focused in on these fun characters, or interesting scenarios, but have done nothing more than write a story that is exactly the same as everyone else out there. I referred to this, when discussing the same thing with another author as "Cheerios."
Let me explain...
I love Cheerios. Is the cereal amazing? No. Does it fill you up. Yes. Is it that "Amazing Breakfast" you want to write home about? Absolutely not.
I want to remind people, that when I am talking about stories that stand out, I am not just referring to writing a story about a time period no one else has written about, or set it in a location that is strange and different. This is all surface level differences. What we are looking at are those deeper issues. It is what you do with your story, the themes you wrap the characters in, that make the story different.
So, before you get writing today, ask yourself what makes your story unique. How will you pitch that story to me to make me stop and scream, I HAVE TO HAVE THIS BOOK!!!
If you can't figure it out, then you might be writing about your latest bowl of Cheerios.