Oct 7, 2012

Shiny new ideas

 I came up with a shiny new idea this weekend (yay!) and even wrote the first two chapters. Then I read this post by agent Jill Corcoran about what makes a book sell. Her first tip is to come up with an original, compelling idea. Which is kind of obvious. Her post also gives a litmus test for shiny new ideas (SNIs for short) and mine only passes half the criteria.

My SNI isn't original. It's a quest story, which has been done about a gazillion times in literature. You know, the story about a hero(ine) who has to get somewhere to do something world changing/life saving, and the journey is actually more important than the destination. ( LOTR is a gigantic quest story. Many Celtic fairy tales are quest stories, generally told with rules of three: three tests to pass, three monsters to face, etc.)

So if my storyline isn't original, it must be compelling. And that's what I'm mulling over as I begin to outline my plot.

What makes a story compelling for you? Consider this an unofficial survey and leave your responses in the comments.

Tomorrow I fly to Dallas for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics convention. The entire teaching staff at my school is going through the end of the week and we're all a little giddy.

And the fact a math conference is getting us excited is proof that we're nerds teachers. I won't be back until Saturday a.m. so there will be no Friday Funnies this week.

Have a great one!


Daisy Carter said...

Excellent - I love Jill, and this sounds like a great test- heading over there now.

Have a great time at your conference! :)

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I'll have to check her post out too! Something that I always find compelling is a good love interest. If its done well it gets me every single time. Have fun at the conference!

Angelica R. Jackson said...

What I find compelling is a character I can connect with--if they grab my attention (and my emotions) I'll follow them anywhere, even if all the landscape looks familiar.

P.S. This is also the hardest thing for me to do in my own manuscripts--create a character that's connect-worthy

Carrie Butler said...

I agree with Angela. Seriously, she took the words right out of my... fingers. :D

Carrie Butler said...

If only my fingers had typed her name correctly.


Nicole said...

Characters are a make or break for me. Compelling characters usually mean a compelling story.

Good luck with the new idea!

Emily R. King said...

Ooh, shiny new ideas.
I want to step into the pages of a book and never leave. I want to be grabbed by realistic characters, swept along by clever plot twists, and lulled by lovely prose. But I'm not picky at all... :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I think most plots have been used and used again...for me, I think it's voice and characters. I read a lot of romance, and how many different ways can that plot be done? But, what draws me in, is a character I want to root for.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Different ideas inspire me but it has to be something I want to know more about. Just letting you know that Throne of Glass (My Truth or Fiction Bloghop prize) arrived on wednesay. Loving it and thanks!!