I’ve sent a new batch of queries out into the cold, cruel world, so now it’s time to stop checking my email every five minutes and brainstorm my next book. This brings me to today’s topic: Make it weirder. Let me explain.
A couple months ago, I read Across the Universe by Beth Revis (which is great, by the way), and my heart seized in panic when I noticed a few similarities between her book and mine. In full freak-out mode, I emailed my crit partner and writer buds, who assured me all was not lost. I made some tweaks to my manuscript, and it was stronger as a result. But I was stung by the realization that I’m not as creative and clever as I’d thought. If Beth Revis and I had similar ideas, then 10,000 other writers probably did, too.
The saying “Great minds think alike” is a crock. Great minds stand alone. Look at Frank Herbert’s DUNE, one of the best sci-fi series of all time. It’s seriously weird—I’m convinced he wrote most of it while tripping on acid—but it’s phenomenal and UNIQUE. I’ll bet you never heard someone say, “I also wrote a book about a desert planet where giant worms eat sand and then poop valuable, addictive spice.” And that’s why weird is good, especially if you have a predilection for sci-fi, fantasy, or anything otherworldly.
So as a new WIP (that’s Work In Progress for my non-writer friends) takes shape in my mind, I’m continually asking myself, Can I make it weirder? I sure hope so!