I found an exercise a long while back that had you list out the top ten signs a book was written by you. I did it and thought it was a fun little meme, but didn't really put much more stock into it.
Lately, though, I've been thinking about that exercise and thinking about how important it is in the grand scheme of selling myself as an author. If I know the top ten signs a book was written by me, then I know what I write and, more importantly, what makes my writing different. It's that elusive "something different" that makes an editor request your full, or makes a reader buy your book after skimming the back cover. Those little pieces of "something different" are what you need to get across right away, whether that's to an editor at conference on your 15-second elevator ride, or in your query letter to the agent of your dreams.
So try it! Sit down and think about the Top Ten Signs a Book Was Written by You. Here are mine. Let me know what you come up with!
1. Lots of dialog. So much dialog that there's not much else.
2. Heroines with big mouths... Is this, perhaps, a comment on the author's tendency to have a big mouth?
3. Heroes with huge biceps. What? I like biceps.
4. Dry humor, especially from the heroines... Perhaps another comment on the author's tendencies.
5. Fated lovers-- soul mates, best friends, reunion stories, that sort of thing.
6. At least one funny injury scene. I don't know why, it just always seems to happen. Someone gets beat up and comedy must follow, because getting beat up is, like, the opposite of fun.
7. Unconditional love. So your career is in direct opposition to mine, and I'm obligated to hate you for it? Nah, I'm so past that. So you cruelly dumped me five years ago? It's ok, I understand why you did. So you're a different species? No problem, still love ya.
8. Parental figures. Yes, I write romances, but there's always a parental figure influence for the hero or the heroine, and sometimes both. Let's face it: we always need parental advice, no matter how old and wise we get.
9. Commentary on society, sometimes not-so-subtle.
10. They live happily ever after.
Sonja Foust is a romance author. Her short story, "Cat in the Mist ," features lots of dialog, a big-mouthed heroine, a huge-biceped hero, dry humor, soul mates, a funny injured hero scene, interspecies snorgling (with apologies to Cute Overload for yoinkage of the term "interspecies snorgling "), a dead-but-still-influential grandfather, commentary on the nature of humanity, and a happy ending. Visit Sonja at sonjafoust.com.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the guest blogger do not necessarily reflect those of The Deadly Vixens.