4 Reasons You Should be Taking Risks with your Fiction

Playing it safe gets boring. Writers who take chances end up pushing the boundaries and get conversations going. And when conversations get started publicity will take off.

  • Station Eleven
  • Age of Miracles
  • The Golem and the Jinni

What do these books have in common? They defy category. They took risks and they paid off. They step outside our known boundaries, but stick to universal human emotion–that’s how we relate to their worlds.

4 Reasons You Should be Taking Risks with your Fiction:

1. Memorable is better than derivative. Nothing will make people remember like something they’ve never read before. Agents included. We are always looking for things that we can’t forget. When we say “we’ll know it when we see it” this is what we’re getting at. If we can’t forget it means that when we send something to an editor that they won’t be able to get it out of their heads either–and so on. Derivative books have a place, they fit neatly into genre boxes which can be helpful, but don’t be too scared to take a chance and see where your imagination goes.

2. Blending genres and categories is what creates unique books. Not only are risky books memorable, they’re also unique. That means that when sales staff are pitching to booksellers or publicity are pitching to magazines they will know how this book is different than all the rest. Don’t be afraid of mixing up genres and keeping readers on their toes. Lots of agents I know are looking for “genre bending.” It’s on our hotlist. (Read more about genre-bending books here.)

3. You won’t get better unless you push yourself and let go of expectation. If you try to write into neat boxes you are closing yourself down before you even try something new. It’s scary to sit down at your desk and not know if that writing time is going to take you anywhere. It could be a “waste” of 2 hours. But the secret is that all writing time is productive. It gets you closer either way–whether you use it or not. The first step is getting ideas on the page, you can edit the rest later.

4. Even if you take us into new fantasy, alternate historical, or sci fi worlds you can still ground it with relatable themes and human connections. As I mentioned in the opening, a lot of the recent successes in alternate worlds revolve around the idea that we are all still human and have universal emotions: the outsider, coming of age, survival etc. If you can tap into those human emotions you can still take us on a roller coaster plot into outer space. If we can relate to the character’s stakes and struggle than the rest is up to your imagination and ability to create believability.

Q: What are your favorite genre-bending or uniquely memorable books?

Happy Book Birthday to Julianna Scott and THE HOLDERS

the holdersTHE HOLDERS by Julianna Scott (Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry) is out today!

17-year-old Becca has spent her whole life protecting her brother – from their father leaving and from the people who say the voices in his head are unnatural. When two strangers appear with apparent answers to Ryland’s “problem” and details about a school in Ireland where Ryland will not only fit in, but prosper, Becca is up in arms.

She reluctantly agrees to join Ryland on his journey and what they find at St. Brigid’s is a world beyond their imagination. Little by little they piece together information about their family’s heritage and the legend of the Holder race that decrees Ryland is the one they’ve been waiting for—but, they are all, especially Becca, in for a surprise that will change what they thought they knew about themselves and their kind.

Book One in THE HOLDERS series is out! Buy it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local independent today!

Advance Praise:

“(The Holders is) An engaging, well-paced story. Julianna Scott is a fresh new voice in the paranormal romance genre.”
– Juliet Marillier, author of the Sevenwaters fantasy series Continue reading Happy Book Birthday to Julianna Scott and THE HOLDERS

New Client: Caitlin Rantala

I’m delighted to share a new author that I have recently begun to represent: Caitlin Rantala.

She wrote a imaginative YA Fantasy, SIREN, that caught my eye. Here’s a bit about the book! I call it THE VOICE meets SNOW WHITE.

Eastland is inhabited by sirens – people with mesmerizing voices worn proudly around their necks in small colorful glass vials. Once a Kingdom full of magic, Eastland is slowly losing itself. The only thing spectacular anyone has left is their song. The better one’s voice, the better one’s social standing in the Kingdom. In fact, even the Queen of Eastland is chosen on her vocals during a ceremony called The Choosing.

Sawyer Sweetin is a nobody in Eastland, but she has a rare gifted talent, one that could easily steal the crown if the whole kingdom were to hear her. Tired of being ignored, Sawyer is determined to win the hearts of her homeland, finally being allowed to come into her own and return the kingdom back to its magic origins. But Sawyer has yet to learn that sometimes the things you want in life, don’t always come to you in the way that you’d hoped. Continue reading New Client: Caitlin Rantala