Friday, January 13

Whaleshark shifters and other such nonsense

Whaleshark Code of Conduct courtesy of Ningaloo Atlas

Truly, this post has nothing to do with whalesharks. Sorry to disappoint. I was thinking about innovation in the writing community, and it has really quite impressed me. Writers have a way of bringing unlike things together or creating themes not previously published, though we hear continuously that there's nothing under the sun that hasn't been written about already.

I remember back when a shifter romance brought together a wolf shifter and another wolf shifter or a wolf shifter and a human. Now I'm seeing otter shifters with wolf shifters and swan shifters with hawk shifters. Heck, why not a whaleshark shifter? There's inherent conflict in being restricted to an ocean. Pair that shifter with an avian shifter, and BAM! they can never be together as a shifted pair. I'm seeing now romances with a rock 'n roll theme or with a culinary theme (ala Louisa Edwards). I'm seeing more hero variety, like nerd-types and outcasts and handicaps/physical imperfections.

Personally, a well-written story even without something unique can grab me by the nape and pull me in. It's all in the writing. For example, and I know you might groan at this, the vampire stories. I heard this statement somewhere on the internet, and I wish I could remember where so I can attribute it properly, but I find that the concept is one I agree with: I'll get tired of vampires in novels the day I get tired of people in novels. Heck yeah! Because even though I love to see the crazy plot ideas people come up with, it is execution that counts most. This supports the 'write what you love' idea whole-heartedly over writing to the market.

What's the most outlandish story idea (in any genre) you've ever encountered? What are some plot ideas you believe haven't been done yet? Have you been captivated by a novel even though the plot was unoriginal? If so, what was it about the story that hooked you?

Quick side note: If you have any short stories, novellas, etc., ready for submission, go visit Jami Gold for her Pitch Your Shorts event. She has several editors from Entangled Publishing taking two-sentence pitches plus first 100 words for multiple genres. They're taking pitches until January 16. Good luck! BTW, the awesome Lisa Kessler is pubbed via EP, and she says they are fantastic to work with.


  1. Usually the unique voice of an author that will make a common story so compelling.
    And your shifter story reminds me of Ladyhawke. Remember that movie?

  2. I totally loved that movie! I must have watched it twenty times. Even as a kid, I had a thing for romance and HEA's, I suppose.

  3. Oh I love Ladyhawke!!! :) Great movie!!!

    I agree Angela it's the writing that makes the story work, not the type of shifter...

    Thanks for the blog shout out too! :) You rock!

    Lisa :)

  4. It would be hard for a whale shark shifter to mate with some non sea shifter. And what would their halfway in between phase look like? Would they be spotted or just ginormous? Plus, I can't help but think of a Diego episode.

    Most outlandish premise -- well, it wasn't super outlandish, but I didn't think I'd enjoy it at all. Shana Abe's Smoke Thief. I bought the firs tone while I was in hospital because it was available. LOVED it.

  5. I am always gripped by love triangles! Very unoriginal, I know... :)

  6. I haven't read enough non-historical fiction to come across anything even remotely strange for a plot device, but the book I'm shopping around now features a young woman who lives with a symbiont and the both of them become involved with the adult movie industry.

    So I guess that would qualify as a strange plot device.

  7. @Lisa You're welcome! Anytime, chica ;)

    @Erin LOL! That would be a sight to see. And hoooo boy, I checked out Shana's website and that book sounds like my cuppa. It's goin' on my TBR.

    @Talli I know, right??? I have a thing for military/spec ops. They nearly all use the same plot devices, but I enjoy each story anyway *sigh*

    @G That sounds unique to me! Don't think I've heard of a non-erotica that involves the adult movie industry other than as a backdrop for the bad guys--you know, porn ring, etc. It's a good point you make that some genres get the odd device more than other genres, but I'm seeing a lot more cross-genre type stories lately. I loved when historicals started incorporating paranormal and steampunks became more popular.

  8. Hey, just stopped by to say thanks for commenting on my blog. :-)

    I agree with you that even when certain tropes are over-used, well-executed stories can still be loved. Shifters, aliens, zombies, vamps or no.

  9. @Misha You're welcome! I think it helps me to read multiple genres. Then I never get too tired of the tropes. Really I get more tired (in romance anyway) of the cookie-cutter alpha hero. I love them, but from time to time I like to see something that makes them different.

  10. The most outlandish I've come across is China Mieville's City & the City, in which two distinct cities (from different countries) exist in the same physical space. And it's not as if they're even in different dimensions; the citizens are simply taught to "unsee" all elements and people of the other city. (It's a murder mystery.)

    If a story's plot is unoriginal, the only thing that will keep me reading is a really compelling voice. Or possibly a gun to my head.

    And frankly, I'm surprised no one has yet to write about a romance between a whaleshark shifter and a vampire bounty hunter tasked to bring the (allegedly) murderous whaleshark in. Literary gold, I tells ya.

  11. Whoa, Nate, that is weird. Must have some highly developed worldbuilding in it. I think I'd quite enjoy the whaleshifter story if YOU wrote it ;) Whalesharks are only murderous when you touch them, so if the vampire fell in love with the whaleshark shifter---ooooo, great conflict!


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