Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

My point is: if you’ve received this/other feedback &it stung, I don’t mean to be cruel, but get used to it. Take it as armor&strap it on. There’s more coming even once you “make it.” Have to learn to constantly improve, besting your own best to dodge the feedback of “familiar.”

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

This may make you think: THIS INDUSTRY IS SO HARD. And yep. Yep it is. Even once you nail this and land representation, authors get this feedback from publishers. And then from reviewers. And then from readers of their next book, always held in their own shadow for comparison.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

Not one of these elements, alone, is enough to push a book to greatness. It really needs a balance of all these things: originality in world, voice, plot structure, trope twist, motivation, backstory, stakes, relationships, emotional arc, etc etc etc. The list goes on.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

But no matter how original and intricate your twist on something is, nor how unique your worldbuilding, if the voice doesn’t stand out as a unique character with a unique perspective on the world, it still falls into that “too familiar” feel.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

Take that established system you love and think: how can you make this the book where readers say “What the EFF! I never would have thought of it like THIS!” How can you make this the book where readers say “I loved X but THIS book does things so differently!”

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

Fact is: readers always want something NEW. So even if you feel you’ve accomplished something familiar in a unique way, HOW familiar it is to an established readership is a very fine line to walk. Too familiar = boring. Not familiar enough = unclear readership.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

Perhaps the motivation was just the same setup I see over and over: character feels life is mundane and just wants something NEW to happen. Perhaps the backstory of the character or world felt generic. Perhaps the character feels directionless.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

Perhaps the worldbuilding was so similar to other stories that it just seemed like different characters in the same place. Common examples: a generic regency structure, a swords&sorcery structure w/no original twist, an assassin story that follows redundant assassin tropes.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

Perhaps the emotional arc was predictable, or perhaps the stakes felt predictable. Example: Princess must decide whether to save her people or forfeit her crown. Warrior must decide between his loyalty and his one true love. These tropes are familiar.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

This can be due to a number of things: perhaps the voice felt like every other story in my query box. Perhaps it felt like a copy of multiple published authors. Perhaps the structure adhered so closely to a formula that I wasn’t surprised by anything.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 5d

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix

Let’s talk really bluntly about rejection feedback that something “felt too familiar,” and what this means for you as the author when you receive it. #querytip #amquerying #amwriting #writetip #askagent.

When I turn down a project for feeling “too familiar,” what I mean is that something about it felt unoriginal or not groundbreaking enough for me to confidently tell editors YOU NEED THIS BOOK IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · 6d

Please remember: your project may seem to closely fit a #MSWL, but a wishlist is still subjective & can be interpreted in many ways. The execution of the project is ultimately what triggers an offer of representation!
#querytip #amwriting #amediting #amquerying

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · Jul 10

I recently tweeted about wanting to be dragged relentlessly into characters. This happens when writing is deeply immersed. But what is a “close” 1st person or 3rd person story? What is voice immersion? A #thread! #amwriting #amediting #querytip #writetip #askagent #writingcraft

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · Jun 27

Aaaand @RaeLoverde brings up another point: language! How many? Who speaks what and why? Are any forbidden? You don't need to write out a Tolkien Elf language itself, but understand how language influences culture & vice versa. Are there accents? Language barriers? Translators?

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · Jun 27

By no means is this list exhaustive. And as always these are just my own opinions. But if you need a jumping off point for how to develop a thorough, immersive SFF world, I hope this helps open your mind and expand your worldbuilding beyond what you’ve already read and watched.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · Jun 27

Once you’ve developed many of these elements, developing your magical system/plot/monsters becomes easier because you can clearly see where your MC sits in society and history, and WHAT THEY FEAR OR NEED, which is what drives your plot. This is motivation. This is stakes.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · Jun 27

Is travel permitted/forbidden? Why? Fear shapes societies in powerful ways. If you doubt that, look at atrocities happening in the real world today. Fear, used to manipulate those who are vulnerable to it, particularly levied with false promises of prosperity, is a powerful tool.

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · Jun 27

Medicine: How is it accessed? How does it work? Is any of it extinct? Is it viewed as a useful tool or a form of witchcraft? Or reserved for the elite? Oral/topical/suppository? (Maybe avoid that last one.)

Naomi Davis @NaomisLitPix · Jun 27

Is education encouraged/required/forbidden? What forms of education are available&to whom? Consider social/financial class structures in this. Consider what things are available to higher classes&where your MC sits in this structure.