I think it's safe to say that as many as half the writers who come into my novel writing workshops want to write something "totally unique", or "unlike anything else out there."
See, I get it. You are you, and your voice is your voice. Why copy someone else's? I've been asking you for the past couple of weeks to not copy others, right? We don't need any more skilled copiers. We want the real you.
But, we also want reminders. Echoes of stories we're familiar with. Lines that rhyme.
Which means, one of your responsibilities as a writer is to know your genre like a boss. You must become an expert in your field. If, for example, you write in the YA dystopian genre, you'd better know who all the key writers are in that field, what they write about, how long their stories are, viewpoints, etc.
So when someone unfamiliar with your work picks up your book and starts reading, they should know what kind of story this is. If you tell them it's hard science fiction and your readers think it's more like fantasy (because you want it to be unique), then you've got a real problem.
Uniqueness should not apply to the genre. If I'm looking for a cozy mystery, don't give me Fantasy Island because you want to be different.
Uniqueness applies to your voice, which comprises how you jigsaw a story together, how you spin words into fascinating combinations, how you lead the reader to understand the Big Ideas you're presenting. Don't scare off your reader with an unfamiliar take on genre.
Hi, I'm David. I'm a science fiction writer, lover of Star Trek, fascinated by a potential future of hope. I write from a Christian worldview. Want to know the darker details? Click here.
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