Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Making Your Idea Unique

Most writers run into this problem at one time or another.  Thousands of books and published each year, with their own plot, so sometimes it seems like every idea in the world is taken.

Even if you come up with a new idea, when you sit down to write it, it starts to follow book you've read.  Or the plot elements are the same.  Or setting is the same.  Or the characters act alike.  Or...

The question is:
What makes your story different?  And how can you make that evident in the story?

I've run into this problem before.  When I finished the rough draft of my book The Golden Pegasus, I sent it out to several people.  Almost everyone liked it, but one of the main responses was "this book is too much like ___".  I struggled for a while trying to think of how I could make it different. I knew my idea was different.  My main character was different and her challenges in life were different.  The setting was a different, but there were a few details that kept it from being completely my own story.

But before you can make a story different from what people think it is similar to, you need to do a few things.
1. Re-read the book that your story is being compared to.  Find how it is alike your story and why.

2. Identify what needs to be changed in order to make your book completely unique.  Then change it.

3. Don't be afraid to change the plot or setting or characters in order to make your book stand on its own, without others' ideas influencing it.

4. It's always good to have someone else (besides you) read over it and tell you what they think.  Truth is, you'll always find how your book is different.  Others reading it will probably find how it is similar.  Critique can be hard to handle, but it's always valuable.

Most of all, keep writing.  Some ideas might not be the best, but more ideas will come.  Comment and let me know how you try to make your idea original and unique :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

When to Pause

So I've finally done it.  I've hit the wall mid-way through the third book of the series.  Usually, I don't hit a wall this hard and fast, but this time it was dead on.

The plot was rising and falling perfectly, characters were developing and conflict was arising.  Basically, the entire book was coming alone perfectly and then, bam, the wall appeared and I ran right into it.  Usually I can tell when it's coming.  My progress will slow down or I'll write without plot.  This time, however, I thought it was doing great.  And it was- until now.

My point by all of this is that, as a writer, we need to know when to stop on a WIP (work in progress).  Yes, we should push ourselves and work hard to finish what we've started. But, if we push too hard, we burn out.  Burning out is much worse than pausing for a little while to catch your breath before you keep working.  So what do you do when you hit the wall?

1. Take a break from writing.  This sounds kind of lame and quitter-ish, but it helps sometimes.  When you do this, it helps to read a lot of good books, especially ones in the same genre.  They can help you think up new ideas to continue that WIP.

2. Start something else.  Sometimes getting new ideas from your head and into writing helps clear your head when you get back to writing that WIP.

There are a lot of other things you can do, but I think those work the best for stepping back and starting to climb the wall.  One thing that you don't want to do it go back and edit.  It just depresses you more, to see how bad the first draft of a book really is.

So what do you do when you hit a wall? Push through it? Take a break? Leave a comment and let me know :)