I hear aspiring authors such as myself say it all the time. They say they are going to write a vampire novel because vampires are hot. They say they are going to write chick lot because that’s where the money is. They say they are going to write a novel about this teenage wizard because Harry Potter was a smashing success. They say they are going to write a post apocalyptic adventure with teens fighting each other and struggling to survive because, well, because look how many copy’s The Hunger Games has sold.
What these people are doing is writing for other people and trying to hop on a trend. They are not writing for themselves. And, if you ask me, it shows in their final products. I’ve read more than my share of these concoctions.
It seems that every time one of my friends opts to put up a novel on Amazon written in such a manner they ask my opinion on it. Ok, ignore the fact that vampire (the blood sucking type) novels are not really my thing. But I do like a good story. Note I said “good”. It doesn’t even have to be great!
But if I am asked to read one more Twilight knockoff, I am going to scream. Give me one more Harry Potter retelling where the characters are the same with only different names, and I will toss it at your head!
I honestly do understand the compulsion some authors have. They want fame and fortune and see the copycat train as the means to their destination. But really, do they think they are going to get either of those things telling a story already told with only minor changes?
Ok, some authors have made a pretty good career out of doing just that I suppose. Nora Roberts has written over 200 books revolving around duplicated plots of her previous books or other stories that were published. But I don’t really care about the exceptions. Copycats and people who rehash the same story over and over rarely get rewarded for their efforts.
Taking such a course will most likely end in failure. The story has been written. Move on. Write something else. Think that the people who read the story you are trying to duplicate the success of will actually buy your version? You are probably going to surprise by how explosively that grand plan fails.
Don’t write a story because you think someone else will like it. Write the story you want to write. It will show better than the duplicate you tried to create. You’ll succeed far greater by starting your own trend.