Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for Novel

Not that novel, hehe. Novel as in new or unusual.

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"That is a novel idea." This comment can be a good thing or a deathnell depending on the tone because while it can be great to be new or unusual, that isn't always the case.

In the world of novel writing nowadays it can be difficult finding something that is new or unique. The phrase that will often be muttered even for those who think what they wrote was unique is "there is nothing new under the sun" or something similar. And even if something does seem new or unique, there should be a question as to why you want to use it because sometimes the unique approach isn't the best.

Confetti and glitter with your query letter? Been done before and a bad idea.

Perfumed paper for resume? Done in a movie and not recommended.

Using something controversial just for the sake of shock value? That brings me to my next point.

It's one thing to find a story unique and different because of certain topics or characters, but there should be a consideration as to why it needs to be that way. Is the reason because you want to do something controversial? For example, had someone talking about writing a story with character who have a big age gap but develop a romantic relationship or a person in an authority position having a relationship with someone they have an authority over. Have both been done before? Absolutely. But is there a reason for the choices beyond trying to do something some might see as controversial, that is the good question to consider.

Sure, some can pick a topic and write for it. But controversy (or novelty) just for the sake of being controversial (or unique) has far less weight than other motivation. Besides, if you really want to go for shock you'd have to try and beat De Sade (try reading that, umm yeah). Far better to write a story with other goals in mind, I think.

What do you think?
Do you strive for novel?
Are there better reasons than for the sake of novelty?


DeniseCovey_L_Aussie said...

Hello Dawn. This is a great post, and yeah, i thought you meant 'that' novel. I know editors love novel ideas, but as you say they can't just be for shock value.


Dawn Embers said...

Denise - thanks. :-D