What is the best secret to writing something original?

Use a formula.

Yep, you heard me right. Sounds contradictory I know. Why? Because we are creatures of comfort and formulas work.

I mean, who doesn’t have a favorite comfort food, favorite chair, a feel-good movie, or book? We enjoy the familiar.

A genre formula is a writer’s best friend.

Sticking to a genre formula lets the reader know what to expect. You know what to expect when you pick up a book by Stephen King, Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson or Danielle Steel.

Putting your own unique spin, touch or style is what makes a reader recognize your uniqueness.

Sort of like spaghetti sauce. Everyone knows it’s made with tomatoes, meat, and spices. But how the cook puts it all together will determine the flavor.

Remember, how you execute a story is what makes it unique.

  • You (the cook) make the difference.
  • Different isn’t always a good thing.
  • Readers want genre fiction they recognize and a world they feel comfortable visiting.
  • A little originality goes a long way, too much can be unnerving, even disturbing to some people.
  • Genre formulas and templates are a writers friend. Like a recipe for a cook.
  • Know the formulas.

Even if you write in more than one genre, it’s important to know and understand the formulas.

You are the secret ingredient. 

Want to know more about genres? Click on the links below.

Okay, time to talk:

Which genre do you write?

Do you know and understand the formulas?

Do you use a template for your writing? Formula outline for the genre?

Are you comfortable with one genre over others?

What do you think?

Genre Writing and Formulas By Rob Parnell
Advice for New Authors: Five sure-fire ways to find your book’s genre By Helena Halme
How To Write A Bestseller – According To The Formula By Peter Winkler

 

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What do you think are the most popular genres?

Is your genre one of the top percenters?

I hadn’t given this much thought, until reading a great article on Medium by Erica Verrillo from the Writing Cooperative. And boy howdy, the stats were eye-opening. Erica gives stats on most popular genres with readers, agents and includes which genres make the most money.

What surprised me most?

Most books sold by genre…

  • #1Children’s Fiction sells more than three times the number of adult books.

    #1 in sales – Children’s fiction
  • #2Adult General Fiction came is second in sales.

Agents most requested genre…

  • First Choice of Agents is NOT Children’s books, although these books are number one in sales.#1 – Request by agents is YA Fiction.

    YA Fiction #1 requested
  • #10Last on the lists for Agent request is Women’s Fiction. I’d expected this to be higher.
  • Agents work on commission of 15%.

The genre that makes the most money…

Romance #1 money-maker
  • #2Crime and Mystery novels
  • #3 – Inspirational and Religious books, (go figure.) This includes self-help books.
  • #4 – Fantasy and Science Fiction
 Click and read Erica’s article to discover all the nitty-gritty details.

What are the most popular literary genres? By Erica Verrillo

Where did your genre fall?
Any surprises?
Will any of these stats change your approach to writing?

 

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