My husband and I took a trip to Borders on Monday night because he had a coupon which essentially boiled down to buy one book, get one free.
A free book! Imagine the possibilities! Would I pick out a historical, a mystery, a paranormal romance? Well, at that moment the world was my oyster. He went to the sci-fi section while I browsed the shelves of romance offerings.
And I promptly became bored, screeching to a halt, I've so already read that bored.
All the rows of compellingly beautiful cover art on the paranormals, while some reeled me in, as soon as I read the blurbs I realized I’d read all those twists and turns before and oh lord do I have the stomach for yet another vampire book? Same thing with the historical romances. Gorgeous, half-dressed men, but every guy is titled, there’s an issue with the girl and oh look they get together and live happily ever after. Blah, blah, blah. Forlorn, I headed over to my beloved mystery section, hoping against hope there was something different.
All the heroes are cops or former cops, all the heroines are nosy busy bodies who don’t really want to get involved but solve the cozy mystery anyway.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure all of these books are perfectly lovely and some writer took the time to finish the book and had the guts to send it out to agents and editors. We know the drill. However, this is my complaint: for the love of God, do something different!
I’ll be the first to admit, coming up with original takes on plots is tough. It’s hard work and sometimes a writer will fall back on the tried and true because it’s easy and familiar. Who hasn’t done this a time or two? But as a reader—heck as a writer—I’m getting real tired of seeing twenty books that are essentially the same.
Maybe it’s a fatal flaw in the New York model. They scream they want different—yet not that different because they might not be able to market it. They yell they want to take chance on new talent—yet not someone real new because they might have out-of-the-box ideas they might not know what to do with. They clamor for new plots—yet not too “out there” because the reader might have to think too much.
I don’t know about you but I’ve never followed the herd or have done what everyone else is doing because it’s comfortable or cozy. I don’t intend to start now.
I want NEW. I want DIFFERENT. I want to finish a book and say wow, that was great or you just don’t see that anymore.
As a reader, I want to be engaged, so wrapped up in a fresh new plot twist or new take on the norm that as a writer, I’ll be jealous I didn’t think of it first. Dazzle me. Dangle that proverbial carrot in front of me that will make me absolutely need to buy your next book.
As a writer, I’m constantly striving to write original things and put such a different spin on things that a reader will say it’s a unique and welcome take. The result? Sometimes I’m a difficult-to-place author LOL The payoff? Huge because the content isn’t the same as a lot of writers. Readers say hmm, I wonder what else she can do.
What did I end up getting at Borders as my free book? A historical romance featuring pirates (I already have 3 just like it in paperback form and 4 more on my e-reader) Yup, I know but I’m hoping from the blurb it’ll be different… If not chances are this book will end up on Paperback Swap.
Pretty bad, huh?
So, the question of the day is this: what plot line/character mixes are you tired of seeing out there? What is something you’d be interested in reading about in future books?