As I went through some of the contest entries, I was reminded of something we often read on agents’ blogs, “The story wasn’t original. Seen it a million times before.” While all plots are forms of stories that have been told in the past, you still need some kind of edge, something that’ll make the reader want to read your version of this tale. Maybe you have a different twist or an unusual character in your story that makes it compelling. Or maybe it’s your voice that intrigues the reader to turn page after page. Whatever the case may be, you need something.
How original is your story? Have you done the research? Have you not only read books in your genre, but searched for stories similar to yours and compared them to your plot and character ensemble? If you haven’t, you might want to consider adding this to your “To Do” list.
For those of you who’ve entered the contest, don’t panic. Most of you have found something different to add to the mix. Don’t forget, this is only a short sample that I’m reading. Maybe the twist or different element isn’t apparent in this piece, but you need to be aware of the problem. If an agent read this scene as a part of a requested sample, they’d see the same thing I did, so make sure that special element is obvious throughout your writing. I also want to add a reminder that I’m not looking for perfection, just great writing and super duper critiquing.
Awareness is the key. Do your homework and know how your story stands up in the world of publishing.
What are some of the tricks you use to make your story stand out?
If you haven’t heard about our critique group contest, check out the details here. The deadline is tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon Central Standard Time. Good luck!