Every writer has to ask themselves the question of what makes their book different from everyone else’s work. What makes their style stand out, or why should anyone get interested in the book they’ve written.
Bear in mind that I do not mean the internal critic that is always saying the work isn’t good enough. Every writer has this irritating voice in their head saying that their work is crap and needs to be burned in the nearest available metal container.
No, what I mean is the honest, professional question; What makes this story different?
Well, for Deviation I’m going to have to say the characters.
We have time travel and space travel and terraformed Mars and big beasties trying to eat people, but the core of this story is about two women. (That in and of itself might be different from the typical science fiction novels out there since much of science fiction seems to revolve around men and their exploits across galaxies. Or at least, that’s the science fiction I have encountered. I would be happy and excited if someone could point me to some stories that hedge outside of this stereotype.)
So what makes Reesa and Kate different from other science fiction heroines?
Well, they’re both kind of anti-heroes. Reesa is a novelist on the brink of a nervous breakdown and Kate is mother desperately trying to get home to her son. Neither wanted adventure, nor were they prepared for it, and yet they find themselves ripped out of time and space into a dramatically different world.
But if we’re completely honest then we can see that most books have anti-hero’s in them; people who did not go out seeking whatever trouble they happen to be in, but are dealing with it just the same. (That’s using a very loose definition of the word “anti-hero” and I know it, but you get what I mean.)
Still, even with character tropes and stereotypes I think it’s the characters on the page that make every story different. I hope that’s what sets Deviation apart in readers minds. There’s plot-stuff like the male versus female war going on, genocide, business morals conflicting with humanity, and the bottomless pit of grief in the book, but when push comes to shove it’s all about two women trying to get home.
So for any writers out there I would ask you the same question; What makes your story different? Are you concentrating on that aspect of the book? If not, I think you might be missing the whole point of writing it in the first place.