Sunday, March 13, 2011

Think Darth Vader meets Dora the Explorer

There's a piece of advice floating around. It concerns comparing your story to another. Part of the advice warns never to compare your story to an already published story. Especially a big name author. The other part of the advice suggests comparing your story to a movie. Whether or not you use a movie or another book for the comparison, it's sound advice. Comparing one thing to another is a quick way to describe your story. It got me thinking. What can I compare Being Human to?

The answer: I have no idea. I am drawing a blank. Most stories where the vampires aren't mourning over their lost humanity and enjoying hunting humans makes the vampires the bad guys. Any vampire that doesn't act that way, pining for the good ole human days instead is a good vampire that doesn't kill humans.

Umm... Yeah. Tommy doesn't really fit into those stereotypes. While he doesn't strive to regain his humanity, he does strive to understand humans and why he'll do things that, in his opinion, aren't very good for his survival. He also doesn't miss being human and is quite fond of the hunt. The only reason he wouldn't kill is because it's a survival-smart move.

Okay, so comparing Being Human to another vampire story is out. That's probably a good thing too. Comparing a vampire story to another vampire tale might do more harm than good. I'm limiting the range of sight a person can imagine with. Especially since I'm trying to step out of the borders of all the vampire stories that came before.

Now who or what can I compare it to? I still have nothing. No books, no movies, not even a video game comes to mind. Can anyone lend me a hand? What can I compare my story about a boy who is content as a vampire and trying to understand what it means to be human even though he no longer remembers being human to?


  1. I really have no idea. I guess if there was a book out there that ivolved some other kind of being - say aliens - and humans ... maybe. I dunno. There really isn't anything that comes to mind. Sorry, I'm not much help either!

  2. Here's a suggestion -

    In my query letter, I'll say something like "Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon and J.R. Ward will love this book." So I'm not comparing it to any one book in their series, the agent gets an idea as to what kind of book it is.

  3. Aislin, I've heard from a few agents they don't like to hear that either!

  4. through the looking glass, alias meets the Cheshire cat. the other side of the mirror, math being = being - human dose this help i hope. following and being followed. following a blog is stealth you are the only one who knows that you have followed, being followed is the same, are you looking over your shoulder. commenting. i comment because i like what was blogged or i have something to say. thank you for your post. god bless

  5. Don't have any useful answers to this maybe Patricia - but if I were you I wouldn't compare. I would, however, take the opinion of some experts in the field to gauge their level of interest : )

  6. I don't agree with comparing, not that it can't be done once in a while, but that it should be any rule of thumb. Almost all comparisons I've ever seen are misleading. I see "This book is the next Gone with the Wind" and I expect to read something similar to Gone with the Wind to find it's nothing like Mitchell's style or story except by the broadest stretch of the's in the same genre, maybe, but that's it.

    Not to mention it shows an author (or publicist) has an utter lack of imagination. Those books tend not to be very good if they can't stand on their own plot and characters but need to lean against classics and popular best sellers.

  7. I don't think it's the best thing to compare your book to other books (or authors) when you send it to agents... a lot of new authors (both TP and SP) use the comparison strategy when it comes time to promote their book through blurbs... I'm not sure this is right for every writer, but it works for some.

    One thing I do think though, is that readers (and agents) will make these comparisons themselves... If they read a book with a vampire in it, they will compare it to other Vampire books... I personally think it would be very hard for a writer (in today's climate) to write a vampire book and try and market it as something that is non-vampire (vampires are just too damn popular, but with that popularity comes a crowded market).

  8. If a comparison doesn't immediately jump to mind, then I wouldn't bother with it. Just let your summary of the character/plot speak for itself.

  9. I wish I could say I didn't have exactly the same problem, but I do. I think everyone has hit the nail on the head though, don't force a comparison if you can't find one.

    P.S. Damn your thought-provoking posts. Now I'm gonna be thinking about possible comparisons for Daeva :P

  10. PC sounds like good advice.

    Shiku, think of it as this: payback for all the torment you deliver to me and will continue to deliver in the future. =P

    Thanks for all the comments ^_^

  11. I also think we should leave the comparing up to the fans. Doing it ourselves can typecast us, can raise or lower expectation too much, can alienate certain sections of the reading community. I prefer to read a short taste or synopsis, so that I can get a feel for the story and the writer's style.

    Personally I think a comparison by an author is a cop out, and shows a lack of originality or imagination on their behalf. Just me perhaps?!

    PC's advice is very wise ... i'd go with that! haha.

  12. It is possible that comparing your unpublished book to a book that is wildly successful can only hurt you. Your book will never measure up, your book isn't as good, who are you to try and top so and so? Maybe the better thing to do is talk about your genre and what is popular to show that you know your niche and have done your homework.

    I'm thinking that agents and trad publishers prefer writers who are smart, which means they can do their own marketing. Since they don't pay for that anymore ;)

    Thanks for bringing this topic up! Very interesting.