It seems there are only four ways to get a traditional publisher to notice a new writer: be a celebrity, have a mentor in the publishing industry, be lucky enough so that your manuscript is on the right desk at the right time, or write a novel so extraordinary that it demands publication. Since I am not a celebrity, mentored, or lucky, the only option left for me is to write an extraordinary novel. How do I do that? Perhaps by writing a novel only I can write.
Obviously, we all come to writing from a certain point of view, from a certain set of experiences. To that extent, all writers write the novel only they can write, but still, most books on the market seem interchangeable. Anyone could have written them. So I am trying to figure out what only I can write.
For example, if I take a picture of a highway, it wouldn’t necessarily show any of my unique perspective. Only I would know the smell of road kill skunk that almost suffocated me while I was taking the picture. Only I would know of the traffic barreling toward me from behind and the sound of the jake brakes from the semi that almost ran me down. Only I would know that I stood there for ten minutes waiting for a traffic-less shot. But still, anyone standing in that same spot would have experienced the same thing. So what would make the photograph uniquely me? Heart and spirit? Memories and emotions evoked by the highway?
All I know is that to write something that only you or I can write, whether novel or blog, we have to know who we are, what makes us the same as everyone else, and what makes us different. The sameness creates empathy, the difference takes the writing out of the ordinary and into a class of its own.