Be a little... different
Joss Whedon gave us cowboys in space – just look at the way Nathan Fillion was dressed – right down to the ‘companion’ with a heart of gold, the preacher and the doctor all along for the ride. He just did it a little differently, with a touch of sci-fi, made the hero more realistic, and the gunslinger a science experiment who could kick some serious butt.
Dragons had been done, and done well, by Anne McCaffrey, in her Dragonriders series, but Christopher Paolini gave them new life in Eragon. Vampires have been terrifying, then sexy and finally moody and sparkly, while werewolves have evolved into a multitude of weres – none of them sparkly. Not yet. Even zombies have gotten a makeover.
Elves and fairy have generally been portrayed as cold and distant, with the exception of Tolkien, and Dwarves have run the gamut, but are still generally seen as small with beards. Sometimes they smoke pipes.
So what brought this post on you ask?
One, a blog post by a writer who could not get people to read her/his literate sci-fi novel. Out of frustration said writer wrote a ‘trashy’ erotica novel because that seemed to be popular. Sales numbers blew through the roof. The curse of sameness. Or at least similarity. Erotica is hugely popular. I have no complaints about that since write it, too. It was a little tactless to readers to refer to it as trash and tactless as well to those writers who only wish they could see those kind of numbers. But the writer’s point that more literate novels don’t get the same attention as erotica had some validity.
Which was the other point.
Since the advent of the sparkly vampires there have been dozens of similar moody, angst-ridden vampires. Lots of stories about shape-changers. Some of them are pretty original. Some not so much. I do wish sometimes that the women seemed less in heat.
With the arrival of 50 Shades of Grey it seems the majority of erotica novels I read about are BDSM. Personally, not a turn-on . And, I’d like to see something different from Doms. Don’t get me wrong, if you enjoy them I’m happy for you.
50 Shades, though, started off as fan fiction of Twilight – and it worked.
No one has written a new Harry Potter, but the popularity of it probably made way for Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. Which stands on its own merits.
No criticism intended, but… why not try to write the next new big thing like he did?
For myself, I like writing something a little different, a new take, or an entirely different genre. I’m not trying to write that next new big thing because that’s a crapshoot, but I am writing something unique to me. Sometimes, most times, that’s enough.