Final Post, Review Tour, and Graphic Novel Release Date

After a one-year hiatus, if any of my original blog readers are still with me I would be utterly amazed (and seriously impressed). If not, best wishes to you wherever you are on your writing journeys! It really has been a while since I’ve been on Story Addict, and even Twitter, only to return with a concluding post to this blog. However! that does not mean the end. I will still be blogging and doing other things that I will mention shortly.

This past year I was completing my master’s, hence the hiatus, and having an existential crisis. Although I’m pretty sure everyone has those every now and then. The good news is I’ve come around. The bad news is I need to wrap up this blog so I can move on to even bigger things (which is really good news as well)!

I do have some exciting news regarding my YA novel, which was released by Crescent Moon Press mid-summer.

Cover - The Executioner - Margaret E AlexanderDark World Books is holding a review tour for The Executioner, which will be held from October 20th to November 7th on the following blogs:

October 20th | Happy Tails and Tales
October 21st | The Avid Reader
October 22nd | Kissin Blue Karen
October 23rd | Justified Lunacy
October 24th | Fundimental
October 27th | Darkest Sins
October 28th | Proserpine Craving Books
October 29th | Mind Reader
October 30th | Classy Cat Books
October 31st | Mean Who You Are
November 3rd | Vaempires
November 5th | Bookworm Brandee
November 7th | Lusty Penguin Reviews

Stop by if you have the chance! You can also add the book to your Goodreads list or find it on Amazon and B&N.

Also, I would like to announce that I am transforming one of my earlier novels, Shadows of Penumbra, into a graphic novel! I’ve so far completed the first chapter and am working on the second as we speak. The projected date for online release is this coming winter. You can visit the website to see a promotional poster which has a sample of the graphic novel artwork and to find some of the artwork I did leading up to the comics.

I will continue blogging about YA thrillers on my author’s blog, so if you’re into that, do stop by for mostly movie and occasional book and TV show fangirling reviews. If you follow me on Goodreads, you’ll get notified when I upload a new post.

As for Twitter, I will likely become more active closer the release of the graphic novels, but I will always check in now and then, so feel free to send me a tweet with any questions whenever you like.

Thanks to everyone who’s ever read, liked, commented, or even visited this site. I’m grateful to all the wonderful writers this blog gave me the chance to meet (including one of my editors!) and I highly encourage writers to use their keyboards for spreading tips about the art of storytelling. It’s a very valuable and fascinating tool to master. I know I’m still working on it (and, frankly, even the best storytellers always are).

Story Addict will remain online as an archive for now. It’s been a blast and, if you’re a current or aspiring writer, I do encourage you to check out some of the posts on this blog for storytelling inspiration. It’s something we can never get enough of.

Thank you and, whatever you do, keep reading, writing, and telling amazing stories!

- The Story Addict

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Guest Post: On Being a Pantser

Winner of last year’s Excerpt Contest on Story Addict, S. Smith, is here to grace us again with her awesome prose and news that Seed Savers: Heirloom, Book 3 in the series that won her the award was released this November and is available now!

She’s back with a post on the rare but fascinating breed of writers, the pantsers. In case you don’t know what a pantser is, it’s the opposite of a planner – someone who goes along step by step without an outline of a story. There have been arguments for the pluses and minuses of being a planner or a pantser, but as we all know there’s really no “right” way to write. Right?

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I’ll get right to the point: I’m a pantser.  And I’m glad we pantsers are finally out of the closet, or er, dresser drawer, whichever the case may be. For awhile there all I ever heard successful novelists talk about was “the plot,” “the Story,” “the big plan.” I’d sit  in my seat while Lauded Author went on and on about how she carefully outlined the five novels in her series before even beginning book one. Huh? It made me feel like a fraud.

But now we know: not everyone makes the big plan. We don’t all outline every scene, chapter, or book. Some of us just put our characters down on paper and watch what happens. It’s fun. And it’s kind of scary sometimes. Like, for example, when you’re not sure how things are going to end. And there will have to be an ending, eventually. Unless, like, you’re the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew.

If you never heard the term pantser before, let me assure you, it does mean what you’re thinking it means. It’s right there in the urban dictionary, “fly by the seat of your pants” while writing a novel. I remember how in my first novel (not Seed Savers), one of the main characters sort of slipped into the book, just like that. The character I thought was going to be a main character was summarily disposed of; definitely not according to even the vaguest plan I might have had in my head. Another shocking case of pantsing in that novel was a scene where one character had a phone conversation with her mother. The mother had always been so kind and understanding and then, wham! The mother just turns on her over the phone. I couldn’t believe it. I think that’s when I realized how much our characters will surprise us. How much fun it is to be open to changes from what we thought was going to happen.

In the first Seed Savers book, Treasure, there is an old man character named Gruff who comes upon the children when they are so lost and alone on the street. As he approached I wasn’t certain if he were friend or foe. Turns out he was friend with a capital F; he was a Seed Saver! I swear I didn’t know it beforehand. Gruff became my favorite character in the book.

In Heirloom, I was just writing along, and whoosh! What? A character jumps on board that acts surprisingly like my late grandfather. Not long after, my grandmother wanders on stage. It was really great to spend time with them again :).

What are the disadvantages of being a pantser? Well, foreshadowing for one. Hard to foreshadow when you are a part of the audience. But sometimes it works in reverse. For example, if a character is acting all squirmy or dodging the question, I think, “Hmm, what’s up with that?” The foreshadowing leads to the ultimate action. Other times I just say to myself, “What can I go back in and add as foreshadowing?” There’s no shame in going back and tidying up a book. That’s what it’s about, the polishing piece. Another disadvantage of being a Pantser I already mentioned. How is it all going to end???? I don’t know. And that’s scary. I have to trust that the characters will continue to lead me.

In the meantime, don’t bother asking about what comes next in Seed Savers. Because

I

don’t

know.

________________________________________________________________

Thanks for the share, S. Smith! I agree that foreshadowing is definitely not going to happen when you don’t know much of what’s to come, but you can always go back and seed in hints, or go off of what you’ve written to create resolutions you didn’t think of in the beginning. The biggest red flag of being a pantser is not plotting out your character arcs, which are quite important in books, if not the most important part. However, there is always the excitement of not knowing how a book will end and going full steam ahead just to get there and write the sacred last words. You might even surprise yourself.

Be sure to check out Seed Savers on Goodreads and Amazon!

-The Story Addict

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Murder on a Summer’s Day

We’ve got ourselves a cover reveal for a cozy little mystery, Murder on a Summer’s Day by Frances Brody, the fifth book in her series!
murder

Publisher: Piatkus (3 Oct 2013)
416 pages
ISBN-10: 034940058X
ISBN-13: 978-0349400587

Murder on a Summer’s Day is the fifth novel in the Kate Shackleton Mystery Series set in 1920s Yorkshire.

A Maharajah on the Moors

When the India Office seek help in finding Maharajah Narayan, last seen hunting on the Bolton Abbey estate, they call upon the expertise of renowned amateur detective Kate Shackleton to investigate.

A Priceless Jewel

But soon a missing person’s case turns to murder. Shot through the heart, it’s clear to Kate that Narayan’s body has not been in the woods overnight. Who brought it here, and from where? And what has happened to the hugely valuable diamond that was in the Maharajah’s possession?

An inexplicable murder . . .

As Kate digs deeper, she soon discovers that vengeance takes many forms. Was the Maharajah’s sacrilegious act of shooting a white doe to blame? Or are growing rumours of a political motive too powerful for Kate to discount?

One thing Kate is sure of: her own skills and insights. Qualities that she is sure will help her unravel a mysterious murder on that fateful summer’s day . . .

Get it on Amazon!

About the Author

frances

Frances Brody writes the highly acclaimed mystery series set in 1920s Yorkshire, featuring First World War widow turned sleuth, Kate Shackleton; twice nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library. As Frances McNeil, she has written for radio, theatre and television and published sagas, winning the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award for the most regionally evocative debut saga of the millennium.

Visit Frances online at

www.frances-brody.com on Facebook, Twitter @FrancesBrody, or on Goodreads.

Don’t forget to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY for 2 signed copies of Murder on a Summer’s Day!

- The Story Addict

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Blog Tour Guest Post: On Happy Endings + Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Fiction Addiction Book Tours

Today we have David Hastings for our very pleasant company, author of the romance novel The Hastings. David will talk about the beloved “happy ending” and its necessity (or lack thereof) in fiction. We’d love to hear from you, David! _______________________________________________________________

David Burnett

David Burnett

“….and they lived happily ever after.”

Can a fairy tale end in any other way? Can the beautiful girl ever be eaten by the wolf, remain under the power of the wicked sorcerer, or end her life in abject poverty without the love and support of the handsome prince? If there is such a tale, I’ve never read it.

Happily ever after is a principle enshrined in literature for generations. It was something on which a reader could count. In the end, the hero would always come out on top. The interest in happy endings carried over into film. No matter how dark the circumstances, the guy in the white hat would triumph, and the villain – dressed in black – would be vanquished.

Of course, not every story or play or book ended in the way we might want. Romeo and Juliet, and its modern incarnation, West Side Story, come to mind as a plays in which the heroes died. But, by and large, the reader or the viewer could plan on a happy ending.

At some point this all changed. Today, one never knows what evil awaits the hero, nor if the hero will be able to overcome it. It has been asserted that if writers want to be taken seriously, today, they must actually avoid happily ever after endings to their books.

I wonder if the modern disdain for happy endings comes from the pervasive cynicism that we see among the baby boomer generation. Boomers were born between nineteen forty-five and nineteen sixty-five and, in part because of their numbers, they have had a dramatic impact on American society.

As a baby boomer, myself, I might well ask why we are more cynical than were those who came before us.

Perhaps it is because, during our lifetimes, we have seen political figures shot in the streets (the Kennedys, Wallace, and Reagan). We have watched as our government prosecuted two wars – in Viet Nam and Iraq – which ultimately seemed to make no real sense. A sitting president tried to break into his opponent’s headquarters and then resigned from office. We have seen corrupt politicians, immoral public figures, and rampant corporate greed. We have witnessed mass murders.

All of these have been brought into our homes in full color by the news media who seem to believe that the right to show and tell everything is the same as an obligation to show and tell everything.

Life is not happy, many boomers have concluded. We don’t believe in fairy tales anymore and we’ve lost our confidence in happily ever after. Happy endings are so unrealistic as not to be believable.

Still, I like happy endings. When I read a novel, I am entering into another person’s world, perhaps at a different time in history, in a place I’ve never been. The hero may be doing things I’ve never done. I get to know the characters. I come to care about them. I do not want anything bad to happen to my hero.

If I want to feel depressed, I can tune in to CNN. The news this week focuses on chemical attacks in Syria. Hundreds of noncombatants have been killed. I can feel sad for people who I do not know and have never met.

When I open a novel, though, I am not reading the Times. I am reading neither an autobiography, nor an historical account. I do not want the author of my novel to draw me into the story, only to leave me feeling depressed, or sad, or angry. I may be reading the novel, in fact, to escape from the world around me. I want a happy ending.

Perhaps more important than a happy ending, however, is a satisfactory ending.

Alan Watt, in his book, The 90 Day Novel, writes that the hero of a story is attempting to get something that he wants – the girl, a new job, a blue ribbon. He also writes that the hero has a need, which is bigger than what he wants, and the hero believes that what he wants will satisfy the need. The boy who chases the girl may really need love, and he believes that she will love him. The one who looks for a new job may really need recognition and thinks that it will come with the position. Winning the blue ribbon may be an attempt to obtain the acceptance that the hero believes will follow an outstanding performance.

It seems to me that the hero must get what he wants if the story is to have a happy ending.

In some stories, the hero does not get what he wants – no happy ending – but he does find a way to satisfy his need. This is a recipe for a satisfactory ending.

In the motion picture, The Titanic, Rose is a young lady sailing to America where she will marry. Her family is forcing her into the marriage, and she does not care for her fiancé. Jack is a poor boy sailing to America to make a better life for himself. They fall in love and want to marry.

Had the story ended with their arrival in New York and their marriage, it would have had a happy ending. We would have assumed that they lived happily ever after.

However, the Titanic strikes an iceberg and the ship sinks. Jack dies in the icy water of the north Atlantic, while Rose is rescued. She eludes the family members and her fiancé who search for her among the survivors. She gives a false name to immigration officials. She begins a new life. She does the things that she and Jack had talked of doing. She marries, she has children and grandchildren. Although she always cherishes her memory of Jack, she has a good life.

What Rose needed was freedom – freedom from her parents, freedom from her fiancé, freedom to build her life as she wants it to be. During the voyage, marriage to Jack seemed like the path to satisfy her need. While she was not able to follow that particular path, she did find her freedom.

The ending was not happy, but it was satisfactory.

In one sense, a satisfactory ending is better than a happy one, because getting what one wants may provide only short-term happiness – marriage to Jack may not have been as wonderful as Rose imagined it would be. Getting what one needs provides continuing satisfaction – Rose was free for the rest of her life.

A story may have a happy ending. It may have a satisfactory ending. The very best stories have both.

________________________________________________________________

handfastingTen years had passed since they had joined hands in the ruins of the old abbey church. Standing before the high altar, they were handfasted in the Celtic custom, engaged to be married.

A rose bush had bloomed beside the ruined altar. Steven had reached out to caress one of the flowers.

“I’ll find you,” he had said. “In ten years, when we have finished school, when we are able to marry, I’ll find you. Until then, whenever you see a yellow rose, remember me. Remember I love you.”

In those ten years, Katherine had finished college, completed med school, and become a doctor. In those ten years they had not seen each other, had not spoken, and had not written.

It was what they had agreed.

For a decade, she had been waiting, hoping, praying.

Today ─ her birthday─ she finds a vase of yellow roses when she reaches home.

Steven, though, is not Katherine’s only suitor. Bill Wilson has known her since they were in high school. He has long planned to wed her, and he finally decides to stake his claim.

The Handfasting is a story of love renewed, a suitor spurned, a vicious attack, a struggle for healing. It is a story of love that survives.

About the Author

David Burnett lives in Columbia South Carolina, with his wife and their blue-eyed cat, Bonnie. The Reunion, his first novel, is set in nearby Charleston. The Handfasting is his second novel. While most of the events in the story take place in New York City, psychologically, the story is set in the rural South of the 1970’s.

David enjoys traveling, photography, baking bread, and the Carolina beaches. He has photographed subjects as varied as prehistoric ruins on the islands of Scotland, star trails, sea gulls, and a Native American powwow. David and his wife have traveled widely in the United States and the United Kingdom. During one trip to Scotland, they visited Crathes Castle, the ancestral home of the Burnett family near Aberdeen

David has graduate degrees in psychology and education and previously was Director of Research for the South Carolina Department of Education. He and his wife have two daughters.

Twitter @DavdBurnett

Facebook Author Page

Amazon author page

Goodreads author

Website

Thanks to David for his wonderful thoughts! And don’t forget to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY for the $20/£10 Amazon Gift Card!

-The Story Addict

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Guest Post: Setting Kiss Me in Paris in the City of Love

kiss me in parisFor the Kiss Me in Paris blog tour, I just had to ask NA contemporary authors Dmytry Karpov and Kimberly Kinrade about their choice of setting. I had recently read a book set in Paris, Belle Epoque, and it definitely peaked my interest. Paris is a city of wonder, and though my closest encounter has been through movies and books, I’d one day love to stroll its streets. Here’s their take on Why Paris:

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While outlining Kiss Me in Paris, we wanted a setting that would feel new, different, and exciting to most readers. We settled on Paris, a place most people want to visit, but haven’t had a chance to. If they have, they want to visit again!

We wanted our novel to feel, in a way, like a journey through the city. If you don’t have time for a vacation to France, you might have time to read Kiss Me in Paris and enjoy the culture, romance and beauty that way.

Paris is also full of amazing architecture, which was a great way for us to bring out Cade’s knowledge of buildings and history. It’s also a very artistic place, which fit with Winter’s creativity and desire to write. Paris was the perfect place for both Winter and Cade to come together, showcasing their natural talents and special skills and knowledge.

Researching the details to make Paris truly come alive required many hours online, as well as referencing, heavily, Kimberly’s time studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. Yes. She actually went to the same school as Winter and Cade. We were able to include many great tales from her studies abroad, like the fact that you have to bring your own toilet paper to the dorm bathrooms. (See Chapter 5 to find out how this affected Winter and her roommate!)

The Top 5 Most Wonderful and Unique Things We Learned About Paris:

1. There are gas pumps on the side of the road, like right on the sidewalk. You can just pull over to a lonely little gas pump and fill up.

2. The city is built on really old tunnels, and they now have a weight limit for buildings. That’s why you don’t see any skyscrapers in Paris. If someone tried building one, the entire city might collapse.

3. The Eiffel Tower was built as an entryway to the 1889th World Exhibition. They actually had plans to take the tower down later, but fortunately decided against it, mainly because it was useful as a radio tower.

4: The Pont des Arts is sometimes called Lover’s Bridge, because couples leave padlocks fixed to the bridge to symbolize their eternal love. The practice is common on other bridges in Paris as well.

5: The Notre Dame Cathedral took around 100 years to build and ended up outgrowing the original design, resulting in the addition of more columns and gargoyles in order to support the structure.

Thank you for reading. We hope you get to experience the magic of Paris one day. If not in person, then at least through Kiss Me in Paris.

______________________________________________

Thanks to Dmytry and Kimberly and their take on Paris! I’d forgotten about those secret tunnels. Now I definitely have to visit.

Here’s a bit about their gorgeous book:

When the city of love brings two lost souls together, only their darkest secrets can tear them apart.

Winter Deveaux tried love once. It didn’t end well. Unable to open herself up to another heartbreak, she hides in her romance novels as she struggles to break out as a real author. She thinks Paris holds the answer to a new start, but when her nightmare follows her across the world, she’s forced to face the darkness living like cancer inside her soul. If she doesn’t, she might miss her chance to become the kind of writer she’s always wanted to be. But more than that, she’ll miss out on the greatest love she’s ever known.

Cade Savage is heir to the largest ranching family in Texas. Part cowboy, part architect, Cade has his feet forever in two worlds. When he receives an acceptance letter from the school of his dreams, he must decide between family and destiny. But ghosts from his past still haunt him, and circumstances beyond his control may decide his fate.

When Winter and Cade meet, everything they believe about life, love and what it means to be happy is put to the test.

Will the magic of Paris pull these two lost souls together? Or will their darkest secrets tear them apart?

Featured Quote: “She opened herself to him, and, in that moment, she opened herself to the world. Let it hurt her. Let it burn her veins, boil her blood and scorch her heart. For where there could be pain, there could be pleasure and love. She would be cold no longer. She would melt the hearts of others, and in turn, they would melt hers. She would feel the full spectrum of emotions and cry. She would be human. And she would be happy.”

Pick up your copy of Kiss Me in Paris on Amazon, B&N, and wherever ebooks are sold (Except iBooks, sadly, because they are taking FOREVER to publish books. So if you have an iPad, iPhone or iAnything, get an Amazon app for free and you’re set). Look for the paperback and hardback coming soon.

 Amazon: http://amzn.to/1adeUti

B&N: http://amzn.to/1adeUti

Add it on Goodreads at: http://bit.ly/XPBKCZ

About Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov

kimberly kinrade

Kimberly Kinrade

dmytry

Dmytry Karpov

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes romance (contemporary and paranormal), fantasy and paranormal stories for all ages and still believes in magic worlds. 

She lives with her three little girls who think they’re ninja princesses with super powers, and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

- The Story Addict

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Cover Reveal and Giveaway: Hunted by Jill Kaelin

Well, look at what I’ve got here. A perfectly eerie cover. Not creepy (that’s more of my thing, I like to creep people out). It’s just so silent and beautiful, I love it. Can I also get a *gulp* for the book blurb? The format is eerily similar to the blurb for my upcoming thriller, but shh I didn’t tell you that. Sounds like an awesome story, be sure to add it to your to-read list!

hunted

Publishing 17th August

Inkspell Publishing

YA Paranormal Romance

 8

That’s how old I was when I found out I was special. I was given my rose quartz gem and taught about my past.

13

That’s how many times I’ve lived in this world. This is my thirteenth life cycle as a human.

1

That’s how many seconds it took to fall in love with Mike. It’s also the amount of time I had to say goodbye just before he was killed by Reggie, the hunter that’s been after me.

Will Reggie succeed in killing me too, and eradicating the planet of the unicorn race forever?

About the Author

kaelinSince elementary school, I remember being in love with words.  Spelling them, writing them, reading them…I even hang them up around my house.  I think I owe my love of language to my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Templeton.  I can recall sitting around in a circle in that old, red-brick school, listening to her read aloud Greek mythology.  The oxymoron there was that she was the most prim and proper teacher I ever knew, right down to the white buttoned up blouse held together at the collar with a cameo pin.  The way she read made words come alive.

I had written a few things here and there throughout my life.  I used to think I’d be good at children’s books, and it wasn’t a far stretch since I worked with children every day and knew what they liked.  But then I read the series by Stephenie Meyer, maybe you’ve heard of it…Twilight.  This was the type of story I knew I had to write.  Teenagers were my audience.  It helped I had one at home to learn from.

My idea didn’t come in a dream.  No, I wasn’t that fortunate.  It happened through research.  And lots of it.  The only criteria I had was that I wanted my story to be different from everything else out there.  I wanted my story to stand out.  No vampires or werewolves.  No witches or wizards.  Unicorns were my choice.  And I think the story that unfolded is definitely unique.

Website

Twitter: @jillkaelin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jill.kaelin

https://www.facebook.com/Cycle13Hunted?ref=hl

Jill is also giving away two limited-edition bookmakmarks!

giveawayENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE!

-The Story Addict

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What’s Cliché and How Do You Avoid It?

cliche

“The Cliche of Love” by Andrea Becker

SA-sigA fellow commenter suggested I write up a post about clichés. It may have been a while, but I certainly haven’t forgotten. To be honest, I’ve always known clichés were bad and naturally avoided them, but I didn’t know how to explain it better than “don’t do it.” But what does that even mean? If we don’t replicate some part of past stories, it’s not feasible. All stories are, in some way, cliché. In fact, all stories have been known to fall into certain categories that have already been predetermined through the ages, regardless of who the author is. There are different types of clichés as well: the detailed phrases or word usage and the more broad plot points or character stereotypes.

So let’s take it one step at a time. What’s a cliché? A cliché is anything that has been done or said so much that if one more person were to do it again it would come off as a bad joke. Example one: YOLO. If you’ve heard that phrase, you know it stands for “you only live once.” Because of how ridiculously overused and simultaneously annoying it’s gotten, people cringe when someone uses it. Don’t (unless you’re being sarcastic). Example two: “pitch black.” I actually didn’t know this was cliché until a fellow writer pointed it out. Black is black, so you don’t even have to call it that. And it’s also an overused phrase that sounds a bit cheesy. Example three: Imagine if you came to a meeting of authors and a few of them said they were writing a vampire novel. Then a few more said they wrote a vampire novel. Before you know it, the majority has announced they’re writing about vampires and when someone says they wrote something else, it’s almost a relief. At first it starts off like a club, but then things get stuffy and uncomfortable. Too much is too much. But where do you draw the line?

The fact is, there is no “line.” You have to be constantly conscious of what’s overused, both within your own writing and within other works. How do you do that? You’re not Wikipedia. Ah, but you can be. Read. Read a lot. Ever wonder why successful authors suggest you read lots of books? This is one good reason. Take note of what’s out there and use it to inspire you, but don’t replicate it. Imagine books are like spring boards, and use each one to bounce higher and higher until you reach your novel and your writing style.

Another thing you can do is constantly question: has this been done before? If it has, put a spin on it. Don’t let yourself continue writing something you’ve already read. Isn’t the point to write a fresh narrative that excites because it’s fresh? Originality is a powerful thing, although it’s not always employed in fiction. Though Hunger Games was considered original, and, in my opinion, still is, it’s been criticized for a plot too similar to Battle Royale. I’ve read both and I can say the two are quite different, but even faint similarities can cause people to question your work as a writer.

Don’t forget you can’t read everything that’s ever been written. For all we know, Collins has never read Battle Royale. The same goes for Stephanie Meyer and the Twilight/Vampire Diaries comparison. And you may not read a book that’s similar to yours yet exists somewhere out there. That’s okay. Just do your best to stay in the know. If you’re not aware of it, it doesn’t matter anyway. There’s no way you’ll write the exact same novel someone else did if you haven’t read it. Even if the plot is the same, the characters will be different. If the characters are the same, the setting won’t be. The number of variables that go into creating a story are too many to count, which significantly lowers the probability of duplication.

The lines get blurry with genre fiction, since the point of genre fiction is to write formula-based stories that are actually more or less the same. In fact, if you went down the line and compared them, you’d find that a majority of the ingredients and plot points were very similar, yet different enough to make it a unique and enjoyable story. To write genre fiction successfully, you really have to have a sensitive eye for subtle differences and magnify those differences so they stand out despite the similar skeleton.

Most importantly, stay away from replicating mainstreams. Those are the biggest red flags you could put in your own book. If you want to be the next mainstream, don’t copy what someone else did. Do the absolute opposite. Do what no one else has done. That doesn’t guarantee you’ll go mainstream, of course, but it’s better than being “that guy/lady who copied J.K. Rowling.” Although, to be honest, I’ve always wondered why Percy Jackson was never questioned for basically merging Harry Potter with Hercules. But when I read the story, the author’s imagination really blew me away, so I guess that counts for something.

There should be plenty of other ways to avoid clichés, but those are the ones I use most often, especially the second. When I wonder “has this been done before?” sometimes the answer is, “yes,” but I always figure out a way to follow it up with: “it might be the same, yet no one’s done it with…”

People like familiarity, yet they also slam things that are too familiar. Too similar to Harry Potter? Bad. Too similar to Lord of the Rings? No, thanks. A replica of Star Wars? Been there, done that. In short, use your creativity. Dare to dream up new things and overuse your imagination. You know you’ve got one.

How do you avoid clichés?

-The Story Addict

Posted in Story Addict Exclusive | Tagged , , | 4 Comments