Sunday, February 21, 2010

"The Same But Different"

A lesson from Year One on
"The same but different."

On the weekends I enjoy watching a movie or two.
Movies are not only entertaining,
but a quick way to visually see what
works in a story and what doesn't.
This morning I watched Year One.
Not exactly thetype of movie most romance
writers would think of when wanting to analyze a story,
but I do include humor in my writing.
Plus, I enjoy laughing to a silly movie
from time to time.
In this Jack Black, Michael Cera story our two
main characters are cavemen who can't hunt,
gather, or get the girl. At first, I thought the film
would be a spoof about cavemen learning to light
fire, invent the wheel, etc. Just more of
the same old thing. It did indeed include those elements.
I was more than a bit surprised when the two characters
walk a long distance and run into the Cain and Abel from
the Bible. Soon they run into Abraham about to sacrifice his
son. Not much later, they are running from Roman soliers.
I realized this is a great example of taking the same old story
and giving it an unexpected twist. When I first started writing,
I was targeting Harlequin. I heard repeatedly to read many
of thebooks in the line you want to write for to get a feel for
the type ofbooks in the line. But I also heard the editors want
"the same, but different."
Many editors, not just Harlequin editors, want stories
That are like the other books selling well, but they
want your story to also have an unexpected twist
to make it a bit different from the others.
Not only does your story need a twist, but you need to mention
this twist in your query letter so editors and agents know
why they should ask to read and later buy your story.
I hope you find this helpful.
Until next time,
Happy Writing!
Tina LaVon

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