Monday, July 07, 2008

Titles I'd Like To See

Well, Spencer and Lori have both done posts about books they'd be interested in seeing lately, so I figure it's time for me to do one too. I don't guarantee that any of these books will sell, just that I'd be interested in seeing them pulled off well.

  1. A mainstream YA novel about a teenage girl living as an illegal immigrant in the United States.
  2. A non-Western society steampunk fantasy. Where are all the African steampunk books?
  3. A *good* YA science fiction novel that doesn't involve spaceships, portals, telepathic powers, or aliens.
  4. A novel about a Japanese woman working as a hostess; I want it dirty and power-intrigue filled.
  5. A British historical romance that doesn't involve a member of the nobility. Think Jane Austen gentry with sex.
  6. A contemporary romance with ice skating in it; either a male or female figure skater; I'm good with both.
  7. A novel about how one woman's obsession with the Food Network saves her life.
  8. An urban fantasy with an atypical male protagonist--no vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, or faeries allowed.
  9. A kick-ass AI based science fiction novel. Not just fancy robots with human-like characteristics; give me true AI and its ramifications.


Anonymous said...

Please tell me you're kidding. Please. Isn't it common knowledge that a novel isn't about the IDEA -- a Japanese woman working as a hostess -- but HOW it's about it. It's all in the execution, not the idea. I shudder to think of the many newbies that might read this post and toss aside their inspired work to rush out and write one of these books.

This is the same as the neighbor at the mailbox that says, "I've got a great idea about squirrels in a park, can you tell me where I can get it published?"

Ryan Field said...

I like four and nine the most...

Jodi Meadows said...

Anonymous 6:24, Of COURSE it's about the execution. I think Jenny's been around long enough to know what she's asking. As are a lot of the readers of this blog.

Just because she's looking for a story like one of these doesn't mean she's automatically going to take any of them on if they're sent her way. They still have to be good. She's saying she wants a story like one of these if anyone has one, and if they're good, maybe they'll get a shot in the big bad publishing industry.

As far as newbies tossing aside their inspired work... Well as long as they're writing, and they understand that having a story doesn't mean someone's going to publish it. Honestly, one of these ideas might stretch them and make them work toward new goals rather than writing LotR or Pern again.

Have you read agent blogs before? L. Perkin's Agency isn't the only one to talk about what they're looking for; Don Maass Lit Agency does it, too. Seriously, go look at their site. This isn't a new thing and there's no reason to be upset.

Jenny Rappaport said...

anonymous, I'll ditto Jodi Meadows. She pretty much answered for me already. =)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the replies everyone, I'm the guilty Anon. Yeah, um, I've read blogs before, I'm actually a published author myself. The thing is, IMO no one really knows what they want until they read it. The writing, the execution makes a book good, and sellable, not the idea - i.e. "japanese hostess" part.

How many times have we heard from agents/editors that idea was great but the writing didn't hold up? Many, many times. On this very blog.

And if you think newbies aren't going to be sending Jenny these books or worse, changing their own books in order to meet these criteria, then you're mistaken.

I'm not trying to change your mind, you can think whatever you want -- and especially Jenny, since it's her blog. :)

Anonymous said...

"an illegal immigrant"
"African steampunk"
"non Western society"

Do I detect a theme here?

Jan said...

I could try the Food Network obsession saves a woman's life idea, but I would have the FN obsession almost destroy her life when finally, the current craptastic non-cooking/reality show emphasis convinces her to give up FN and get a real life.

Caroline said...

Damn. Guess I won't query you for my teen aliens with telepathic powers novel. :-D Well, actually, I might do it anyway. You can only say no, right? You'd hardly be the first. ;)

Kalika said...

Hm. I think I'm currently writing #8. How's a protagonist who is dirt normal human but desperate to protect his demon hunting baby sister?

I'd need to finish editing it first though. :)

Chirstina Lee said...

I guess I would be the "newbie" you all are talking about. Well, not me exactly, but I'm willing to let you in on something from us newbies. We aren't dumb. Writing isn't, and shouldn't, be about pleasing everyone else. It's a personal thing. No one starts out saying the are going to write whatever they are told. They write what they love. I have two things I'm working on right now, and after reading this post I had a good laugh b/c the ideas were funny. I might consider writing about one of the ideas just to break out of the stuff I do, but dropping everything in hopes of making a sale....NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. I like what I am doing.

Don't underestimate the new kids.

Kristine Overbrook said...

One can take the post two ways. Laugh, because some of those ideas are really out there, (no offence Jenny) Or use them as writing prompts. The food network one sounded interesting. :)

There are plenty of writers that will start a project and once they get to a sticking point in the middle, abandon it for something else. They don't need a prompt, but they will happily use one. Frankly, a sneeze could give them an idea and off they'll go leaving what could have been a wonderful, salable novel to explore the new idea.

We can only hope that fledgling writers will understand three things:

They need to write the book they feel, even if it's been done a million times.

What's selling today may be old hat tomorrow.

What one person hates others may love.

Anonymous said...

"A kick-ass AI based science fiction novel. Not just fancy robots with human-like characteristics; give me true AI and its ramifications."

What's with the SF kick? These days, AI isn't science fiction--it's real. Thousands of people are paid to work with it every day, in jobs that are anything but glamorous or exciting.

So, would you be interested in a completed 85K word thriller about a disgruntled NASA robotics expert who programs a robot to rob banks autonomously? As in, the programmer is nowhere near the scene of the crime when it happens.

This is not pie-in-the-sky- sci-fi--the opening scene features a single Mom screaming at a loan officer because the bank is going to foreclose on her property, when this toaster-oven size 'bot wheels into the lobby and announces that this is a robbery...then it plays that cool-ass rap song, "Nobody move, nobody get hurt.." but of course someone does move, and ,,,you guessed it, he gets hurt real bad by the bot, bleeds out all over the frickin fake marble tiles while the bot spits out this foul-smelling smokescreen...wheels itself to the safe where it demands "a deposit"... Then it wheels outside where it rolls into a car driven by no one.

"That's the thing," the rookie cop said. "Half a dozen witnesses saw a white minivan pull away in front of the bank, but they all say it had no driver."

And that's the end of CH 1.


Jenny Rappaport said...

kristine overbrook, that was pretty much the point of the post. The ideas are out there, but I think, if they were done well, they'd be interesting to read. I want variety in my reading habits and the market does too. Take them as writing prompts by all means or just smile and read on by. =)

thriller-anon, if you have an exact novel to query, please do so following the submission guidelines.

Anonymous said...

"Please tell me you're kidding. Please. Isn't it common knowledge that a novel isn't about the IDEA -- a Japanese woman working as a hostess -- but HOW it's about it. It's all in the execution, not the idea."

I'd say that the idea and the execution are equally important. Maybe the idea takes on slightly more importance with a plot-driven novel, than say a literary character-driven explortation of the soul of man, but in general you need to have both.

It wasn't meant to be a query. I was just curious if you considered a thriller about a bank-robbing robot with AI software that allows it to make its own decisions during a series of escalating wild-west style heists (as oppose to cyber-crime) to be close enough to your 'sci fi novel about true AI and its ramifications.'


Keith Y said...

LOL. I spent 10 years of my life as a figure skater (US Jr. Champ., World Jr. Silver and Bronze Medal). Sometimes I play around with the idea of writing about it. Nothing in the media comes close to the reality--except, hilariously enough, 'Blades of Glory'.

Jeannie Ruesch said...

I love the ideas, they sound like fun...and in those moments when the hard-won words just aren't coming on the current WIPs, it can be enjoyable and helpful at times to just write something funny and different without ever intending to get it published.

To me, ideas like this spark that mindset...and stranger things have happened then that fun idea turns into something really good purely by accident. :)

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of a skating novel. Like Keith, I spent a good bit of my youth in competitive figure skating (no major competitions, alas) but he's right, there are very few skating stories (on the shelf or in the movies) that really do justice to the agony and exhilaration the sport brings. Your post got me thinking (and writing!)...


Jenny Rappaport said...

Oh good, I love ice skating!

I took eight years of lessons when I was a kid. =)

Keith Y said...

Invisible tape over a rival's blades, running the blades up and down concrete before a performance, having to watch what you eat and drink to make sure no one's tampered with it. Oooooh, the world of figure skating is such an interesting one. My first reaction to Tonya Harding...'it figures'

Anonymous said...

On the cover of the figure skating novel should be a skater glidning over the ice--and under the ice is the dark outline of a body frozen in.


Keith Y said...

Hell YEAH. And the blade should cut across the neck :) But then, that's not really a book about skating. I think Jenny's talking about more of a drama.

Chumplet said...

My current e-release has ice skating in it, but it's hockey, not figure skating.

I didn't think I'd enjoy Blades of Glory, but it was damn funny.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...maybe I should write a romantic suspense. Call it "Deep Edges" or something....

And Keith, don't forget the lovely 'ladies' who like to undo the stitching in your seams, or coat your blade-grooves with wax.

The only thing about Tonya Harding that surprised me was how blatant it was.


Keith Y said...

Anonymous, you and I should chat :) I didn't forget about the stitching, nor the obvious 'stealing of costumes'. We had our music (tapes at the time) magnetized. It went out completely in the middle of a competition. We kept going without it. Found out that the couple who beat us by one spot did it. We had our revenge a year later at the World Jr. Championships in Sarajevo. We were 4th, they were 8th, moving up past them by placing 3rd in the Original Dance and Free standing ovations and moving up from 7th. It got even better a few months later when we were notified by the ISU (International Skating Union) that the bronze medalists were disqualified for doping violations and we were awarded the bronze! BTW, speaking of Nancy Kerrigan, my time in the sport was just before her. We did the show at her home club in Stoneham for years. Never knew her THAT well, but liked her. Nice kid...very shy, but very nice.

Anonymous said...

Be still my heart! An Ice Dancer, yet! Alas, my short time in the sport was a bit earlier (think Smith and Summers.) I was originally a freestyle skater, until I discovered the beauty of the dance, and the magic of the Paso Doble. Couldn't land a double axel, but boy could I cut some deep edges! Skated on a quarter grind...

Unfortunately for me, by the time I realized where my true passion lay, it was time to hang up the skates.

I did have John Summers' mother wanting to coach me, but that fell by the wayside (family couldn't afford her fee). Ah well, such is the way it goes. I still go all nostalgic when I watch. The beauty of it made up for everything else.

And I'd love to chat...


Keith Y said...

Egads! I remember Smith and Summers very well. I knew Mrs. Summers as well...not to mention the infamous Frank. Have a really good Fox and Dally story. What are Jenny's blog rules for contacting other bloggers? Don't want to overstep.