A3Writer: That Thing
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

That Thing

     I remember watching the agent and editor panel at Desert Dreams 2010. A lot of very respected agents and editors sat up there. It was intimidating, and also very exciting. Hearing them field questions, and what their answers were seemed to plug a lot of the gaps for me as a prospective client. I remember one idea in particular.
     I don't remember the exact question, something about cross over genres. Specifically it had to do with urban fantasy (which really made me pay attention). And I remember The Janet Reid and Miriam Kriss answered this one by talking about protagonists that do some sort of investigation (cop, PI, reporter, etc.) but also has a thing. A paranormal thing that puts a twist on the rest of it. It makes sense. Anita Blake is an animator, Rachel Morgan is a witch, Harry Dresden is a wizard, Chris Knight was a vampire, and the list goes on. The thing is important, too. It's pretty much the hook for the whole book. It's what sets the character apart from others of this type. If the thing is fresh and original, it can really take off.
     I've got a thing. Rather, Matt Allen has a thing, as my scant few readers know. I think it's a pretty fantastic thing, too. But the problem is that the full impact of the thing takes a little thought. It's not immediately apparent. It's easy to get a rudimentary understanding, but the full impact is a little more subtle, and can even provoke a "that's it?" or a "so what?" response before the full weight sets in. So I'm struggling to come up with that hook which both conveys the fundamental understanding, and the full impact, all while making it interesting.