One of the things people say when you’re writing a query is to compare your book to other recent titles (avoiding the wildly successful such as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games) that are similar to your story. I have yet to find a title that seems similar to my book. I think part of it is a mental block. My story is special! How could there be one like it? Part of it is that I’m not sure I read books like mine, ha ha. It’s so serious!
In an effort to figure out how to search for similar titles, I decided to get specific about my book. When I did, I actually discovered some things I had been missing and was able to focus other things, for example, characters’ motivations. Here’s what I did:
Setting: the world, neighborhood, house–wherever the story takes place. definitely not dystopian for me, which may be why I can’t find recent comp titles . . .
Protagonists: I kept this general. what kind of person features in this story? for me, it’s mostly boys in their late teens.
Motivations: external arc–what the character thinks he wants–and internal arc–what the character really wants. when I did the motivation for one of my female characters in such simple terms, what followed was an “aha!” moment.
Plot Elements: this is the framework of the story, the external events which effect the characters. for me, it’s an alien war and there might be some superheroes involved. 😉
Antagonists: this surprised me. I would have thought it would be the aliens. makes sense, right? wrong! the antagonist is actually one of the good guys. antagonist does not equal villain.
Maybe now I can find some comp titles. Any suggestions? All I could think of was Flash Gordan, and that didn’t help . . .