Monday, July 19, 2010

The Same But Different

I'm at a writers conference, see, and the editor of the line says there's opportunity for new writers. WhooHoo! She says,


"Just write a story that's the same, but different."


Oh. Almost helpful. Well, let's start with the Same part.


I once heard a jaded, older, white, male, veteran of the publishing industry say,


"All romance stories are the same: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl."


I remember smiling and shrugging at the notion. Then I remember getting a bit miffed at the POV of the aphorism. A tad sexist, no?


For the sake of argument, let's say it's true, but with different wording and an extra step. Let's say,


"All romances are the same: beauty meets beast, they fall for each other, they misunderstand each other, they reunite and commit to each other.


Easy peasy. Now let's move on to the Different part.


Make the beauty a virgin. Pablum to some, but popular with most.


Make the beast a mogul. That's a genre with a few thousand books published every year.


Make the beauty a widow. We're on a roll now.


Make the beast a vampire. Ka Ching!


This is fun, but I could use a little help. Can't we all? Let's share our best ideas for Different, in the form of the imperative:


Make the X a Y.


If you find the formula too constricting, and you have a Different idea that you are sure will knock the socks off the genre, please feel free to stick an adjective or two in front of each variable.


Thanks!
Quinn Tellier

5 comments:

Lorrri said...

Quinn, that's a very interesting way to look at things. I'll think I'll give it a shot. Thanks for sharing.

Mona Risk said...

Quinn, I like your theory. Let's make the heroine a career woman and the hero an alpha man who can't stand strong woman.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

My stories dont fit into the norm. At a conference I asked a question at one of the publisher open mike talks. I asked if they want something new and exciting, then why do they return them saying great story but it is different and we don't know where to put it so can't buy it. Banging head on the monitor. I can't help but write the stories I like and only hope some time different stories will be accepted.

Joanne said...

Quinn,
Why is this simple formula sound so easy, yet it's so difficult to get the right balance?

Quinn Tellier said...

I've been having trouble posting. Did this work?