by Anna Bell
As an author, you’re always looking for that killer idea. That original story with a great hook that will catch the attention of editors and readers alike. Yet just how original does that idea have to be?
I had that lightbulb moment a few weeks when I was watching a TV programme. You know that moment when an idea for a novel slaps you in the face? I jotted down a few notes, plotted a rough story and got quite excited. I then told my husband the concept and he pulled a face. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it, he told me, it was just that it didn’t sound very ground breaking. He imagined it would have been written about many times before. So I headed to Amazon, but I struggled to find a story similar to my concept. I couldn’t find anything, but he’d cast doubt in my mind. Whilst I couldn’t find another story like it, he’d tainted the idea.
Whilst there are trends in commercial women’s fiction – and to some extent it’s almost always a story of girl meets boy – it’s nice to think that your book is going to stand out from the others. When I first started reading women’s fiction, the books were centred around a single girl about town, who usually worked in PR or journalism, and had a bumpy ride on the road to true love. Now it’s more common that it will be a single girl who’s in to baking or crafts, who still has a bumpy ride on the road to true love, but it’s more about the character’s journey.