What makes for a unique story?

Some people would argue that there are lots and lots of things.

But today I learned it once again boils down to the characters.

Last week I talked about writing real-life characters who walk and talk like flesh and blood. But how just how do I breathe life into a character? By showing they react to a situation and what makes them special and unique. That is what turns an ordinary cliche of a  story such as boy meets girl into an authentic book that only I can write.

cornelia funke quote

Stay with me.

We all know, or should by now; there is nothing new under the sun. Every story has a basic foundation such as boy meets girl, love triangle, murder mystery, space aliens, super humans save the planet, a journey or quest. Well, you get the idea.

If all stories, like a good cake, have the same basic ingredients, what will make mine unique different? After all, a plain layer cake is plain, right? But add flavors and toppings and your cake will stand out on a table of desserts. Put a surprise in the middle and it will delight those who taste.

Photo: Greg Dupree at Southern Living.com

What can I do to make my book stand out among all the other time travel, love stories, detective or YA heroes set out to save the world books?

Character reactions.

How they react to the situations in the story is what will make my story different. Throw in a surprise in the middle and the reader will keep reading.

Remember, readers gravitate toward the familiar. They respond to characters they recognize and enjoy developing relationships with the lovable granny or the washed up detective as cliche and trope as those characters may be. However, they may grow tired and bored if my characters look, walk, talk and react just like every other love sick gal pal in most

However, readers may grow tired and bored if my characters look, walk, talk and react just like every other love sick gal pal in most chick lit books on the shelf.

Now, I’ve gotta go and give my characters a few quirks. Later Y’all.

I write my blog to share as I learn. It helps the lessons stick. So where did I find all of these great nuggets? At Upgrade Your Story. I hope you’ll click on the video and enjoy.

Do you have any tips or tricks for making your characters unique?

I’d love to hear from you! Click the “write me” tab or contact me on Twitter @jeancogdell,Facebook at jean.cogdell and Amazon.com, stop by and say hey! The lights are on, and I’m waiting.

Please remember to share this post with your Twitter  peeps and Facebook fans.


14 thoughts on “What makes for a unique story?

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