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ADDING THAT UNIQUE TWIST

February 24, 2021

            Everybody, especially publishers, are always looking for something different.

            Authors, writers, and readers get bored with, tired of, the same old same old.

            True?

            Well…depends on who you ask.

            This leads to a lot of experimentation. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

            What it usually boils down to is that, especially publishers tend to push writers and authors to do something different, yet when they do, these same publishers resoundly reject them as too off the beaten path and “not marketable” or “too radical” or “too something.”

            Say what?

            They want different but then they reject it right off.

            In other words, they can’t be pleased.

            It’s like they’ll know it when they see it, but they rarely, if ever do.

WHEN QUIRKY DOESN’T WORK

            You, the writer and/or author, come up with a brilliant idea for a story. It’s either in the way you market the book, the way you write it (as in style), or something about the plot.

            Since it’s more than likely fiction, you have to deliver a finished product before an agent or publisher will even talk to you. There are some instances where you can query an unusual idea and may get a yea or nay response from a “potential” agent or publisher. However, once executed, there are quite often a lot of second thoughts, plus due to the turnover rate, the person you pitched to may not even be available anymore.

            How are you supposed to market something like that?

            Maybe you should try a test audience.

            The barriers start to evolve.

            Need I say more?

WHAT IS THAT UNIQUE TWIST?

            Like I alluded to at the top, it can be several things.

            Packaging:

            The book could be presented in a unique format such as a catalog, which was done successfully in one case I just read. It might be a coffee table book. It might be in a plain brown wrapper and be about sex or have a sex-related or some other sensitive plot. I covered that in a recent article.

            The problem with this is shelving it and making it alluring to the reader. Having it mistaken for something else.

            Plot:

            The plot could have any number of twists, convoluted and turned back on themselves.

            The problem with this making it too weird or complicated for the average reader to either follow or enjoy. Plus, you have the issue that just about everything has been done before.

            Writing style:

            While not new, this is something that is especially tricky. Writing without punctuation. Writing with no point of view. Mixing point of view all over the place. All dialogue. No dialogue.

            No paragraphs. All paragraphs.

            These weird formats and styles can turn off any number of readers.

BEING DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU’RE AN ARTISTE

            Oh boy, here we go.

            There is for the writer that writes purely for themselves and could care less if anyone reads their work. We all are to some extent, a little or a lot. At the same time, the majority of us would love to have others enjoy our work.

            When a writer refuses to bend to any convention at all, because it’s their art, they expect other like-minded individuals to “find them.” If not, they’re okay with that. In this case, the unique twist is that they write what they write, and could care less for convention, whatever that is. Publishing and the world is wrong. Eventually, the world with discover their genius and flock to them.

            Ever hear of the starving artist?

            The caveat of that is my old tired but true saying, “lightning in a bottle.”

            It can happen, but the odds are extremely high against you.

SUMMARY

            I’ve personally been reading for sixty plus years and have seen plenty examples of the twist. Some I’ve enjoyed. Most I have not. Some that I’ve enjoyed were not really unique at all. They were reflections on something already done before but just in a different voice.

            What goes around comes around, again and again and again. When the publishers want something different, it really boils down to they want something different but not too different.

            Go figure.

            You’re next big unique twist, whether it be plot, format or style, may be the next big thing since sliced bread.

            Just remember, the slicing of bread hasn’t changed all that much since it was created. Just the thickness, if that says anything.

            Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2021 5:01 am

    Lol, in this case, one of the more unique twists I’ve seen is Cormac McCarthy’s non-use of punctuation. That was interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • February 27, 2021 2:18 pm

      Stuart,

      Yup. I can’t read McCarthy at all. A perfect example.

      Thanks so much for the kind comments!

      All the best,

      Fred

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