11 February 2008

Shifters Shifters Everywhere!

Hello, everyone. This is my very first post here on Beyond the Veil. I didn't know what to blog until I realized that half my backlist is paranormal and/or fantasy romance! lol What isn't there to blog?! So my topic today is - you guessed it - shifters.

Shifters seem to be hot nowadays in romance. It doesn't matter if they're were-creatures, mythical creatures, or men and women who have a family "curse" (or "blessing" depending on how the characters look at it). I must confess, a while back, I wanted to jump on the bandwagon. I'd heard various authors bemoaning writing to the market. If you write a book simply to "fit in" with the crowd, then it's not the book of your heart, and therefore it won't be a great book.

But I wanted to do something different. I just didn't know *what*. I mulled the idea of a shifter story in my head for awhile, until I literally had a dream one night. I was on the run with a man who could shift into a tiger through the snowy woods. Upon waking, I just *knew* there was a story idea in there.

However, I didn't have any of the why, where, what, when, & who questions. Deciding to run with it, no pun intended, I tried to think of a reason as to why the man would be running for his life. Perhaps he escaped. Escaped from where? Some secret agency? At this point, I was excited, because I loved the intrigue. As fate would have it, I'd just watched the Bourne Identity movies, and I knew I wanted that kind of feel for my shifter book if and when I ever wrote it.

Okay, so what if the hero had amnesia of sorts? He doesn't know who he is, aside from who this agency has said he is, and due to his treatment while imprisoned there, he isn't inclined to believe them. What if this agency wasn't just imprisoning shifters, but *creating* them? Ooo, good idea. Maybe they have a cool acronym as their "name". What's a good acronym for an agency who makes shifters? Obvious. B*E*A*S*T*.

Now, I had the daunting task of figuring out what the letters stood for. :P I finally settled on Bio-Engineering to Attain Shift Transformation. Quite a mouthful, but it fit the story I was plotting in my head.

At this point, I was jonesin' to write this book. It was an awesome idea, one I hadn't seen from another author. There might be a handful of biologically engineered shifters on the market, but not enough of them to make me rethink my idea. I did a lot of research, actually, on other authors' books just to make sure I wasn't stealing an idea someone else had. One author had a shifter created from a lab accident. Close. Another author has books about shifters who are genetic experiments. Aha, so this isn't an "original" idea. However, I knew my plot was pretty different from hers, so I didn't think twice about writing the book.

But once I began to write, I realized something. B*E*A*S*T* hasn't imprisoned only one man. There are hundreds in there, all enduring the torture, all shifters themselves. Now, I had a series on my hands. A series that kept on getting bigger and bigger as the plots of each book unfolded. Goodness! A single book evolved into a three book series, only to blindside me by demanding more than that.

But even so, I couldn't make every book be the same old tired plot. The series needed to evolve from that one spark of an idea of a shifter on the run. And each book is different in it's own way.

Now, I've resigned myself to the fact that there might be many books in this B*E*A*S*T* series of mine... However, I've learned not to put a *limit* on them. In the beginning, I'd decided to shoot for a trilogy. Well, I've written three books, and there's still more to this story. Therefore, I'm going to write this series on a book-by-book basis. At this point, I don't know where this story is going to end. It could end with a possible book four, or I could go on for another three books, who knows?

I do know one thing, however. The books in this series are my bestselling books to date. THE B*E*A*S*T* WITHIN was released in October of 2006, and it's still a bestseller at my publisher. The moral of this story is this; sure, you can write to the market and be very successful at it, but I truly believe you need to have something unique, something new to bring to the table. Don't settle for writing the same ol' thing. Twist a tired plot and make it your own. Then you'll stand out from the crowd. :)



Anonymous said...

Hi Becka, welcome to Beyond the Veil and I love the plot of your novel.

Thinking I may have to put this on my tbb list



Carolan Ivey said...

Great post, Becka! I'm working on a unique (I think) twist to a shifter story myself.

I think for anyone who's as good a world-building as you are, your worlds just can't be contained in a single book, or even three!

Becka said...

Aw, thanks guys! I just got my print copy of book two in the series, B*E*A*S*T* OF BURDEN, and I'm so giddy. LOL

I can't wait to have all three in print sitting pretty on my bookshelf. :)

Can't wait to read yours, Carolan!