Thursday, April 14, 2011

Different Views or Duplication

By Susan G. Haws
I apologize for being late.  I make notes and then when the time comes to post things come up and everything sounds like junk.  So I appreciate your indulgence.

Lately I have thought a bit about the concern that the plot of a book in progress or character types are too similar to a  story already in print verses  resonance of similar plots or character traits with the reader.


When I worry about my plot or character's abilities being too much like ones in books already published I then remember the movie Throw Momma from the Train.  At the end of the movie the characters played by Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal learn they have both published books inspired by their mutual experiences.  Billy Crystal's character is concerned momentarily about duplication.  But not to worry, the book by DeVito's character is a sweet children's story that no one would guess was inspired by the same events as the other character's novel. 

In a group of writers throw out any topic and the stories that come back will be as varied as the people.  We all have our perception filters and the voice we express our ideas through.  For example Mummies.  There are picture books (Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble) and chapter books (Magic Tree House #3: Mummies in the Morning) and block buster movies with Brendan Fraser.

Spiders:  Charlotte's Web, Spider-Man

When you say your book has fishing I might be thinking a grandfather, father, and son bonding experience and you might be thinking along the lines of The Old Man and the Sea or Jaws.  You get the picture. 


I have heard that there are only a handful of basic plot categories for sorting all stories since the begining of time.  Also, I have been told that books are comfort food for the mind and emotions.  Like with comfort food, when a person wants pepperoni pizza a taco just won't do.  People in the mood for steak or  chocolate ice cream  won't purchase cod fillet and lime sherbet they want red meat and chocolate.  People that like epic fantasies are going to look for another epic fantasy or  people that read paranormal romances will look for another paranormal romance. I know this holds true for me in food and reading.  I enjoy reading a variety of genres but when I am in the mood for an edge of my seat, goose bump raising thriller I don't buy a romantic comedy.

I like certain authors because I know they are consistent in producing novels with similar types of characters and  plot, that I am comfortable with while changing the variables of character personality traits, abilities, location , conflict details.  I feel confident the author will take me on a safe adventure and all the surprises will produce emotions I want to experience.  If I buy a romance I want the couple to get together in the end.  If I buy an epic fantasy I want to have wonder and the triumph of good over evil.  So when I go shopping for books I want the blurb on the back, the design of the cover, even the font (Yes, I know it is weird but I notice fonts.) of the title to resonate with similar type books I have enjoyed in the past.  So I think similarities between novels can be a good thing.



3 comments:

  1. Funny you should mention all this because one of my very fav fantasy writers is terrible at the big ending. He recently (I just found out about it) wrote a new series sorta tying our world and the magic world together. I sped through the first two boos, read the third and final in lighting speed only to come to a grinding halt thinking I never like his endings. But you can depend on it ya know?!

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  2. Funny you should mention all this because one of my very fav fantasy writers is terrible at the big ending. He recently (I just found out about it) wrote a new series sorta tying our world and the magic world together. I sped through the first two boos, read the third and final in lighting speed only to come to a grinding halt thinking I never like his endings. But you can depend on it ya know?!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Terri, I do know. I appreciate your comment.

    ReplyDelete

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