Sunday, January 31, 2010

Know your competition...

I got some good advice this morning that I should know what the competition is writing. This piece of advice came because I submitted a pitch for my novel Haven, and the 100 words sounded like the story is similar to Vampire Academy.

I have to admit, when I started writing Haven I didn't know what was out there... but now, I watch them like a Hawk (and to tell you the truth, there are at least four novels that take place at a vampire school)... so, if I knew that when I started working on the novel outline (well... idea for the novel because I technically couldn't keep to an outline) would I still have written one that takes place at this mythical school? The answer is... I have no clue.

Now I'm stuck looking into the barrels of three guns. One, I could rewrite the character (hey, I've got all three species to work with, vamp, witch and werewolf... but will making her a witch remind agents of Harry Potter?) or two, I could throw it out the window (yeah, doesn't that look great considering I've spent the past five years creating the world, story and characters... hey, my werewolves look like giant echidnas/porcupines cross bred with birds who dragon snouts), or three, I could continue submitting, hoping that agents will be able to see that my story is different from the previously mentioned novels (and yes, since discovering them I have consumed them, so I do know what the competition has written).

Now I'm working on a couple of other novel ideas and I'm devouring novels from Airhead (Meg Cabot) to Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) and everything in between to see what is out in the market place at the moment.

So, does every one look at the competition before jumping into a novel, or do you try to stay away from novels of the same type that you're writing in case it influences (subconsciously even) the way you write and what you write?

P.S. Once again I've just gotten home from work and I've learnt another valuable lesson... Don't drink energy drinks after midnight because it tends to hinder the chances of getting some sleep... oh well, there's plenty of blogs to read until the buzz wears off.

3 comments:

Saxton said...

I think reading the competition is a good way to find a previously unexplored niche in the market.

cipherqueen said...

When it comes to fitting in the market... I didn't think about that when I started writing. I just knew what I liked, and tried to imitate it. This led to swords-and-dragons fantasy, which no agent wants. Instead, you shift the focus- I went from fantasy to sci-fi, then to steampunk. This was probably eaiser for me since I constructed my scenes to be multipurpose, like patches of a quilt.


But yes, I have tons of doubts too. And sometimes it does feel like everything's already been done...

Kerri C at CK Farm said...

I hope you pursue Haven.
I wrote before I looked to see all stories out there too. When I read stories and find similiar aspects in mine I first pout then say great minds think alike, then tweak.

With me I figure a 20 chapter story could make a lot of blog posts...worse case scenerio of course!

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