Thursday, January 18, 2007

A penny for your thoughts

I have a question to ask the fantasy readers/writers out there, but let me give a little background first.

A brand new character popped up in my mind today and auditioned for the chance to have her story written one of these days. She is terribly interesting, and even packed her own plot idea (which gets her extra points because plot usually is something I have to work very hard to find) but, while her world would share some of the qualities of other things I'm working on, lots of the mythology and world building I've used in the past wouldn't work in her world.

So my question is this: (pretending for a moment that the series I'm writing now gets published one day, and this new idea pans out and also gets published) can an author successfully release books in the same genre that follow different rules? For instance, lets say both books have vampires, but one book has vamps with the classical Stoker weaknesses, and the other book has Ann Rice type vampires. (This isn't the actual issue, but the point being the myths and rules for the supernaturals would be different.) Would readers accept that the same way they do when reading different writers, or because both books were by the same person, would people go "Hey, I thought the vamps couldn't cross running water..." even if the worlds were clearly different and defined?

What do people think? Would you rather an author use consistent rules if they use the same race in different series, or are new rules okay?


Rachel Vincent said...

Ooooh, I think that's a vary valid concern. Using the same race in two different series/worlds would probably confuse me unless the author was very, very careful to say the two series were NOT connected. And maybe even then.

My book on spec is an urban fantasy world with different rules from my werecat books. To keep them seperate, I was careful to use different species, for this very reason. There are no animal shapeshifter in my new world, and there are only animal shapeshifters and humans in the werecat world.

But I don't know. As with most writing "rules," those who are really, really good at what they do can usually get away with breaking the rules. ;-)

Misty said...

I agree with Rachel. If you can make the new-and-improved rules work, then it's probably okay.

Glen Cook's done it, three times now. He has The Black Company, the Garrett, P.I. and now the Instrumentalities of the Night. All of them are different, and all of them seem to have great audiences.

Kalayna-Nicole Price said...

*sigh* sadly I doubt I fall under those "really good" lines, so maybe this story idea is one I should give a lot of thought to before I tackle. Of course, there is no guarantee an editor will want the book my agent has now, so maybe this other story will be the world that finally makes it, and the one I'm working on now will be forgotten.

Thanks for your opinions!

Richard Norden said...

I just found your blog, so excuse me for being that late with my comment. I agree with Rachel, but another possibility could be to choose an pseudo for this new novel. Like Richard Bachman and Stephen King ;-)