1. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    USP?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by sprirj, May 25, 2015.

    just wondering if anyone considers that their book/story has a usp(unique selling point) something that makes it different from anything else and whether they would be willing to reveal what this is?

    Whether it is something in. The plot itself, or how the chapter is formatted, the structure, the tone, the cover, title or even the font? Who amoung you pushes the envelope?

    I'm trying to make my book as visually stimulating as a movie, I'm considering illustrations etc like fear and loathing in Las Vegas
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Good question. I've never thought of the USP of my stories, to be frank. :/ I suppose you could say for some of my stories, they examine trends found in certain genres (ie, fantasy with the YA protagonist and Chosen Oneā„¢ types). If the setting is during a war (fictional, or based off of a real one), it's not afraid to showcase both sides as morally grey rather than "Evil Army" vs. "Good, Oppressed Army".
     
  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I rather liked what @BayView said once. She said the reason why, for example, Hunger Games worked was because it has enough familiar elements of the genre that people loved it and could digest it (dark, oppressive government, love triangle etc), with just one or two new things thrown in - in the case of HG, it was the Games themselves (throw teens into an arena to kill each other).

    Personally I'd say the same logic applied to 50 Shades. Familiar elements (typical chick lit language and set up with the perfect best friend who didn't know how gorgeous she was, typical MC who's socially awkward and didn't know how pretty/special she was, typical romance with troubled male lead - someone with a dark secret) and then one new element thrown in (bondage/S&M).

    In both cases, neither the arena thing nor bondage romance are actually new, but they weren't mainstream. Certainly not bondage anyway.

    So, unique selling point - I'd say explore a similar formula :) Something that already exists but not in the mainstream market that could use a little exposure, and the rest of it would follow the rules of the genre you're writing in.
     
  4. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Mine is that I'm trying to use the worldbuilding tools to pull the future close in rather than building something far out that we'll never see. If I do it right, I'm hoping to yank it in so close and so realistic and so "anti-sci-fi" that people start seeing their kids in the main characters.

    Of course - that's not exactly what I'm achieving yet - right now I'm just getting comments like "why isn't the future futuristic?" But slowly getting it in place.
     
  5. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Do you mind unpacking what you mean by "pull the future close in rather than building something far out we'll never see"?
     
  6. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, like I said, my ultimate goal is to get my readers to look at my (very adult) characters and see their kids (or neices, or whatever). I'm writing a setting in the year 2034 and my main characters are all in their mid-late 20s, which means they are theoretically today's toddlers. My villain and my mentor characters - if you do the math - are all millenials (the timing of the story is set to coincide with the first Millenials reaching age 50 and starting to take the levers of power in the world). So, in contrast to a lot of sci-fi futures, my setting tries hard to be just a slightly fast-forwarded version of modern life - not a lot of overdone tech enhancements like body augments or nanobots, and not a lot of tech-focussed plotting, in fact a lot of the worldbuilding is based on stagnation - the idea that Generation X and the Millenials largely ignored the world's problems, leaving them to blow up in the face of Generation Z (who are now reaching adulthood). There are a lot of post-facto references (one thirty-something character has a collection of "vintage" Taylor Swift memorabilia, the 62-year-old Pope talks a lot about how Kurt Cobain's suicide affected his decision to become a priest in the mid-1990s, one of the twentysomethings keeps an old plush "Anna" doll from the movie "Frozen" that she got as a toddler). It also means people still talk on phones, TVs haven't changed, artificial intelligence and singularity aren't concerns, the cars don't fly, etc.

    If anything, I'm far more interested in watching our world rust than building new stuff on top of it - for instance one of the big tech problems I'm trying to hash out are the costs associated with the internet overloading it's physical capacity (storage capacity is infinite, but only so much data can be beamed through a fiber-optic cable at once, which means that eventually they are going to have to either lay new cable at a huge price that gets passed on to consumers, or restrict access to things like streaming video).

    Actually, though, this has presented a really big challenge worldbuilding with my readers. People are willing to swallow "the future" whole if you give them something that's vastly different from their own experience - not a lot of people question cyberpunk, even though in my opinion a lot of it is set too near in the future for the technology to develop. But, if you give them a future that looks too much like the present, it actually removes their suspension of disbelief because they've been conditioned that "the future" looks a certain way. I've been told it's "unrealistic" that TV screens aren't wall-integrated (which actually would be a bad idea because you can't move them), or that it's "unrealistic" that a 77-year-old man appears wrinkly (really?), or that I need to have female cardinals helping elect the Pope (when all the data shows that we're nowhere close to women priests, let alone women cardinals). Trying to keep it realistic is really hard, and the fact that I'm leaving so many aspects of our world in place means I have to do a lot of really deep exploration of what HAS changed (In my case, that means digging apartment complexes underground, "artificial window" technology, mixing up the demographics, turning real-life good neighborhoods into ghettos and vice-versa - and I'm currently obsessing about the future value of the dollar so I can consistently state the prices of things)
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
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  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The most unique thing about my story is it's YA without magical creatures or a pseudo-real dystopia.
     
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  8. sprirj
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    sprirj Contributing Member

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    When it's done. Send me a link, I want to buy your book
     
  9. Vellidragon
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    Vellidragon Member

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    It's not really a unique feature, but I think a fairly distinct point about my Fantasy books that I like to promote is the absence of humans (and other terran animals, in fact). It's a bit strange how rare this is, especially when the work isn't necessarily children's fiction. One of my main goals when I started working on my setting was not to rely on Earth conventions (and "Tolkien Fantasy conventions", in fact) so much and actually make use of the huge amount of liberties I could take to make it reasonably whimsical and interesting. It's nothing that hasn't been done before, but the setting is still the strongest point, I think.
     
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  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks. Although I have to finish the darn thing first. Right now it's dragging on, getting too big, and most of those cool things I mentioned have yet to make their way into the actual text :p but seriously if you want to see any of it PM me
     
  11. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unconventional perspectives on the human experience -- perspectives that reveal a lot about us by stripping essential parts of the human experience away from the characters.

    For example, a character who cannot be remembered by anyone, and a character who feeds on love despite having no capacity to love people.

    At least, that is what gets me excited to work with these ideas. Not sure if it makes them more marketable.
     
  12. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I once asked my publisher what it was that made him offer a contract.

    He indicated that he gets a lot of good manuscripts and some really good ones. There's nothing wrong with any of them, but that mine was different, making it stand out in a positive way. That difference, he felt, would enable it to gain notice over other novels out there, giving it a better chance to sell.

    My fantasy novel (and series) has a mixture of technology and magic, which certainly isn't unheard of. But narrowing it to WW II era weapons vs. magic and magical creatures, added to other plot aspects, about healers, about how magic works and more. There are familiar tropes, but enough differences give the readers a unique read, if that makes sense.

    Of course, my experience is only one data point.
     
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