Friday, June 24, 2011

Putting a new spin on new story ideas

I had a really long and wonderful talk on the phone with my agent the other day. The purpose of the call was to brainstorm ideas for the sequel to the second book in my KNIGHT’S CURSE series. However, my agent hadn’t had a chance to finish reading DARKEST KNIGHT, so it was challenging to discuss follow-up events to a story she wasn’t completely familiar with yet. But the call was far from wasted. We went on to talk about other things.

We discussed story ideas in general and what editors are looking for. I wanted to know if fantasy and paranormal stories are still in demand, and she said the market is so glutted right now that the rejections she sees are often because the publisher already has something similar to what’s on offer.

So what’s a writer to do? Are all the good ideas used up already? I think you know the answer to that one. No.

However, the task for coming up with an original story is tougher than ever. The demands on our creativity has never been greater. It’s up to us to put a new spin on what’s already been done to make it irresistible to editors and then to readers.

Liz and I talked a little about KNIGHT’S CURSE and how different it is from anything else out there. That was a problem when the manuscript first went out on submission because there was no yard stick to measure it against. There’s still nothing to compare it to. That eventually turned out to be a good thing in a market that has become eager for something different.

So while I’m waiting to hear back from both my editor and my agent on DARKEST KNIGHT, I’ve come up with an idea for a totally new and different paranormal story. I’ve never seen this idea done quite this way, but it appeals to me and I plan to have fun with it, just like I did with KNIGHT’S CURSE.

Writers of fantasy and paranormal fiction are kind of lucky when you think about it. It’s such an imaginative genre that there are no limits to where you can take it. Any writer with a good imagination has a great opportunity to get published in any genre. It’s all in the spinning.

If you’re a writer, do you consider the idea for your book original and different? If you’re a reader, what would you like to see in a fantasy or paranormal story?


Teresa Reasor said...

Congratulations on selling your Knight series.
I too write paranormal. Actually I write a little of everything. I have two historicals and a contemporary out right now. But to me the easiest genre to write in and keep things fresh and new is paranormal. Because there's no limitations as long as you can convince the reader to suspend their disbelief. Writing interesting characters is the key to that and staying within the rules of your world, or society.
I'm about to finish an epic paranormal set in Scotland. Different than anything else I've ever written, and the most challenging. I hope the agent or editor I pitch it to will think it's as interesting as I do.

Good luck with the next book of your series.
I'll be looking for it.

Write on,
Teresa Reasor

Karen Duvall said...

Ooh! Historical paranormal. Very cool. And you're so right about the characters. If they're not fascinating, the entire story falls flat. Thanks for dropping by! :)

Sisters of the Quill said...

I love original - not derivative or a remake of a classic or a comic turned movie. It frustrates me sometimes at what's out there and making money. Someone is watching/reading it, though. I like fantasies that incorporate the oddest elements of real-life obscure tribes/societies.
Karen Lin

melissa_jarvis said...

I write historical time-travel and when I first put it out there, no one knew what to do with it, because I approached the time travel from a sci-fi angle and incorporated a tt organization similar to the CIA. It found a home eventually. Now I've finished a book where the heroine is a ghost, whose job is to possess people. But before this change in publishing, editors didn't know what to do with books that didn't fall into one category. I'm so glad to see that changing, because I want something different as a reader too.

Karen Duvall said...

Karen and Melissa, i couldn't agree with you more. I'm so eager to read original, creative fiction and it's wonderful to see many publishers finally stepping out of their comfort zone to take chances on great and unusual ideas.

Used to be that only the established authors in the genre were accepted into the fold of outside-the-box stories, but it's expanding now to allow the rest of us in. Woot!

I just finished watching the live streaming event of Neil Gaiman on WITS and he's living proof that amazing stories can be born of fresh, if sometimes odd, ideas. They were throwing movie star names at him, and famous songs, and he'd come up with eerie paranormal ideas right off the cuff for each of them. It was hilarious and witty, and totally entertaining. He's one of the great fiction minds of our time. *bows to Neil* lol

Louisa Bacio said...

Different cane be good. Sometimes, when I'm thinking plot ideas ... I think of all the common, regular "what ifs" first, and then put them aside, and delve deeper.

Karen Duvall said...

Oh, yeah, Louisa, excellent point. :)

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Karen, I've written 10 books in the wolf series, with at least 3 more contracted and for me it's sooo important to make sure each is the same world, but unique, refreshing, different. There's nothing worse than buying a book and reading the same old scenario from a favorite author, who just changes the names of the characters. :)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Karen
I do try to come up with original aspects to my story. Plot is not original, there are many to pick from. But the characters and worlds we build can be so diverse. I invented a monster in my first book that no one ever saw before. In another unrelated work, still in the creative stage, I am trying on a character that I have never seen before. When it works that is thrilling. Good luck with your stories.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium