Sunday, October 30, 2005

the same story

the same story
"My story is just like another book and now I'll never get it published!" It can be hard to write your story or shop it around when you know that there's something else like it out there. People on discussion boards always try to be helpful when this subject comes up by saying things like, "there are no new story lines" or "you have to make it your story, which will be unique." But that's hard to do without a referece point.

Take the vampire books for instance. I have been reading lots of them to get in the mood for Halloween. They all have common characters (vampires) and common legends (Dracula) but each book looks at things in a different way. It made me realize that you can have a book with a similar character or problem that is vastly different from other books that are supposedly like it. Now you might be saying, "but I'm not writing a vampire book, so that doesn't apply to my story."

So here's what you do. Read every book that is like your idea. Why? Because you will probably see that although you are writing about a bully, or a selfish little brother, or problems at school, these books are different than your book. The characters have different goals and dreams, and unique ways of dealing with problems or boyfriends or little sisters.

Sometimes it's easier to see that we are unique when we have a reference point about what is different.