*Sarcasm warning* (May contain elements of sardonic ranting.)
I honestly think bookstores are built to depress writers. They look so beautiful from the outside, so inviting. Posters advertising the latest best seller, (What we all hope to be deep down, right?) the smell of paper and anticipation of adventure lure hungry thrill-seekers forward. Aisles are clean. Countless colorful jackets beckon your touch… And then you pick one up.
Cue the plot depression. “Nope, no more vampire stories.” You tell yourself. “They’re overdone.” “Nope, no more wizards.” Again you say. “Can’t risk them being compared to Harry.” (--The way you compare everyone to Harry!) “No more crime mysteries. How many times do we have to suffer through the exact same plot?”
By the end of the visit you’ve crossed 90% of your current projects off the list. What’s left?
While your developing plots may not be completely “unique”, they are yours. Your babies. If you love them enough, if you study and refine and strengthen those characters, your prose, each fine element, detail and twist, someone will appreciate them besides you, right?
In music composition there’s a method. Formally educated individuals use the method, breaking the rules where necessary to throw their audience off and take them to new heights. Each note, its duration, emphasis in the score, selected voice, and individual performance makes it unique. So what if three measures in a sequence are exactly like someone else’s song? That may actually serve to subconsciously endear the piece to listeners.
Readers gravitate toward elements they’ve loved in other books. I know I do! As in music composition, if method is applied (yes, study, study, study!) and the rules broken in the right places and at the right times, you just may send your readers to cloud-nine. Let people compare and say your story reminds them of this or that. In the end they either love the work, or they don’t—and as no two songs are exactly alike, neither are stories.
Don’t be afraid to write what you love! (And especially what sells!)
Books, music and more: http://crystalcollier.blogspot.com