Typically these types of blogs instruct, or rather suggest, ways to write better books and improve your sales - though as Dr. Van Helsing would tell you, there’s more than one way to skin a bat.
Below are six seasonally correct designations for different kinds of books that have turned on their creators and are attempting to destroy them, or at least their positive prospects for success…
1 - “Frankenstein”
Basically this describes a story that is haphazardly and lazily stitched together from stolen parts, either from a literary cemetery that hopefully no one has frequented lately, or actual living pieces of fiction that are currently thriving on the marketplace today. This is called “plagiarism,” and if your imagination is that desperate for a creative spark, then it might be time to give your book a rest until lightning strikes inspiration into your dormant brain, rather than trying to pass off a patchwork quilt of better ideas as your own masterpiece.
2 - “Dracula”
The last thing you want to do is suck the reader’s energy dry with extraneous character and setting descriptions (though painting an accurate picture in their minds is always the goal), or detours from the main plot that have nothing to do with the core story. Meandering narratives tend to drain interest from your audience, and unless you want your story to be tossed aside like a bloodless corpse, you need to learn how to balance artful embellishment with essential storytelling elements.
3 - “The Werewolf”
Unless you’re intentionally writing a genre hybrid – which is actually a popular practice these days, appealing to two sets of fans at once – you don’t want to start off writing one type of story and then suddenly morph into something completely different, sucker punching your reader with a divergent storyline that doesn’t match or live up to the promise of the promotion. False advertising always breeds resentment in readers.
4 - “The Mummy”
While mining your own life experiences for material can be a lucrative and mutually rewarding enterprise, don’t get so wrapped up in your own immediate world that you wind up strangling the reader with morose self-indulgence, rather than offering them an immortal story that they can relate to without feeling buried in the tomb of your own despair. This holds true even if your book is an actual memoir. Always keep your audience in mind, that is if you want to sell a product, not just publicly share your literary self-therapy sessions.
5 - “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”
It’s never a good idea to suddenly introduce a “convenient” or “surprise” plot element just to somehow make your story seem credible - with some magical device suddenly rising from the dark depths of your murky imagination just in time to rescue a character from a dangerous situation or save a story from sudden extinction. Always prepare carefully for your safari into the jungles of creativity, stocking up in advance on all the necessary narrative ingredients so you when you’re suddenly confronted with that most frightening of situations – the deadly “writer’s block” – you don’t find yourself sinking into a pit of quicksand without a rope.
6 - “King Kong” AKA “Godzilla”
If your story contains an organically epic sweep, and you can sustain interest in the various intertwining plot threads without boring or overwhelming your reader, then a kaiju-sized blockbuster is totally justified. Otherwise, no need to pad out your naturally slim story with excessive digression just to impress your audience with the fact you can cough up such a monstrous word count. Just tell your story as economically yet completely as possible, and let that natural flow dictate its eventual size.
So happy haunting, my fellow scribes. Have fun with those literary treats. Just skip the tricks…
What are some “monsters” that have escaped your own literary lab?