Checking out the competition

I’ve been working hard on my competitive analysis since my last post. I’ve been trying to figure out whether my story idea is unique enought to be marketable, a task that involves – as my husband likes to put it – sitting on my backside, reading.

It’s been a hard week, obviously…

Joking aside, I have actually learned something from the exercise: that my story may not actually fit as neatly into the Young Adult genre as I thought.

I read a huge variety of books, but my real interest seems to lie in fantasy/sci-fi stories for all ages. I’ve read many YA books of this type, but always for enjoyment and so reading a number of them in a row, with an analytical eye, is a new experience for me.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on this, but there does seem to be a bit of a formula involved: the use of the first person or single narrator; the bullied teen; the popular girlfriend/boyfriend and the geeky sidekick. The writing styles are similar too, in that short sentences are the norm and the story skips along at breakneck speed. Plot over character, in most cases, I would say.

This would have been fine about a month ago, but as I have been plotting my story and developing my characters I have found that I like quite a lot of my characters – not just the one I thought would be my main protagonist. I would like to tell their story too.

And actually, the characters I find most interesting are the older ones, with a bit of bite and back-story. So my age-range seems to be creeping up as well.

So which genre should I aim my story at now? I think I will have to do some more reading to find out…

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