I just finished a reading splurge. I read three great books, all very different in my opinion. Well, two of them are a little similar and the third is very different from the others but not better, so we’ll start with that one.
Cinder, as you might guess from the title, is a retelling of Cinderella. This caught my eye because, hello, I’m in the middle of writing a retelling of Cinderella. This story is fun because it is set in the future in a very techno-savy, robotic society. It even involves a race of beings from the moon. The main character is a strong and intelligent woman but still the oppressed underdog, at the mercy of her stepmother. The prince is endearing and sympathetic. A very likable character. And the peripheral characters are mostly well done. There was heartache and humor. The romance was sweet.
The problem is the whole time I’m reading, I’m thinking, if you break this down to a rough outline, it’s very similar to my story. I know, I know, they’re both Cinderella, so of course they are going to be similar. But even still, some of the things I changed, she changed too. Not to give too much away, but the family situation is similar. The way Cinder, (my character, Dru) is looked down upon and why, is similar. Their insecurity stems from the same place. But the thing is, this other author’s setting is so unique, set in the future with all the techno stuff. Mine is set in same old, same old fairytale land. And I’m struggling right now with how to make my story unique and stronger. How can I make Dru stand out? How can I make the juxtaposition more dangerous or weighty (what’s the word?) between good and evil, natural impulse and expectation, dark magic and good intentions. And if I’m not seeing similarities with Cinder, I’m seeing them with the movie Ever After. They were the furthest thing from my mind when I wrote my version. I didn’t even know about Cinder, but now I just feel like mine is a cheap imitation. I don’t know. I’m still trying to figure it out.
Anyway, Cinder was a great read. It really ends on the edge of a cliff. Not really an ending at all, just a beginning for more to come. So I read the preview chapter of the next book, Scarlet, which I assume is Red Riding Hood, which coincidentally, I also have a rough draft of. But it didn’t really hook me from the get go. Maybe I’ll get to it eventually but I’m in no rush.