When I sat down to write a novel, my goal was to write something unique. My goal was to write it my way, and to tell a story I hadn’t already heard somewhere else.
Yet, it seems many agents are quite set on comparing you to other authors. Some want mashups (“This is Stephen King meets JK Rowling! Only be more obscure than that so we know you’re paying attention”). Others seem to want re-tellings; familiar stories told in new ways. (One had an example of a Cinderella story retold as a cyberpunk story. Yeah, really.)
In some ways, I guess I don’t get it. That doesn’t feel original to me. Now, I freely admit that I decided to take the plunge in part because of a King novel I was reading at the time. And I’ve told people that’s sort of my comparable (in format/genre, anyway, not that I’m comparing myself to one of the most successful authors of all time!). But it just feels a bit strange. I didn’t set out to be Stephen King. I can’t be him, or any other writer out there. I can only be me. People will either like my writing, or hate it. I can live with that.
The other thing that gets me is that agents seem to want to know that you’ve read obscure authors in your genre. I first started finding that, and panicked. I don’t have a lot of free time to read these days. I haven’t read a horror novel by anyone not named King or Koontz in probably 10 years. Why should that disqualify me? That doesn’t mean I can’t write.
Anyway. I guess that’s my rant for today. 🙂