Several years ago I brought a sample chapter of my book to the writer’s group that meets at my house every month or so. After reading it, the first comment was, “This sounds a lot like the Bourne Identity to me.”
My initial thought: Damn.
“Whatever do you mean?” I asked, even though I could kind of see whatever they meant. Here are a few of the similarities pointed out to me:
“Well, the guy has amnesia.”
“He knows how to use a bunch of weapons. Killing is instinctual to him.”
I cannot deny it. This guy’s a freak of destruction.
“He’s part of a secretive military group, members of which may be trying to kill him.”
“What about the vague and unhelpful shaky-cam flashbacks?”
(Getting annoyed.) You didn’t need to take dramamine before reading my story, did you?
So, I resolved to make some changes. Granted, the premise is very Ludlum-esque, but it’s set in a fantasy world with a magic system and all sorts of freaky creatures, so I think I have a chance. Maybe. If someone can read past page one without saying, “Amnesia? I’ve read that one before.”
New marketing strategy: Target amnesiacs to read my book. It will be like nothing they remember experiencing before.
Five years later, I’m trying to write a log line for this book, so that when people ask me what my book’s about, I don’t have to say, “Uuuuummmm,” or, “It’s…complicated.” (I don’t have a gift for spoken words). I sent the log line to a trusted fellow writer, who’s first comment was, “It’s sounds a lot like the Bourne Identity.”
Five years. Nothing has changed.
The good news is, I now have a working log line!
“Hey, I hear you’re writing a book! What’s it about?”
“It’s basically the Bourne Identity in a fantasy setting.” (sigh).
Enjoy an honest trailer of the book I’m currently writing: