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Archived Workshop No New Posts > How to present my not-a-parody book?

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message 1: by C.L. (last edited Oct 22, 2016 12:01PM) (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments So, a lot of you helped me putting the blurb together on my book and I thank you. I'm noticing among reviewers, though, a certain confusion about what my book IS, and I find it totally understandable. I'm hoping you'll help me find the right words to help readers know what exactly they are reading.

Background - my book started out as a Twilight parody that I wrote for NaNoWriMo. I wanted to see what the Twilight plot would look like if the main character was a loud, bold, ass-kicking kind of person and the love interest was a mindless zombie instead of a dominant vampire. But I got caught up in the story and it ended up taking on a life of its own and it is now totally different.

My book is definitely not a Twilight parody anymore. The plot line is significantly different from Twilight's. I don't mock Stephenie Meyer's style in any way, and have a unique voice in Stella, my protagonist (Bella Swan never swore like Stella Blunt does!). The story is basically totally different, too, so I can't even call it a rip-off because I basically tried to do the opposite of everything Meyer did.

BUT - you can still tell how it started out, much the way you can still see the Twilight roots in Fifty Shades of Grey. Stella Blunt and Howard Mullins, my main characters, are obviously callbacks to Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. There are also several minor callbacks to Twilight - for example, instead of Bella nearly getting hit by a car and being saved by Edward, for example, Howard walks out in front of a car and gets hit by it - which are only really noticeable to people who have read the book.

So it isn't in any way a parody, but it is obviously RELATED, and I have acknowledged this on my book cover (how do you add a cover image?)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...

So, here's the problem - My book is currently on Netgalley and opinions on the cover - which is professionally designed by an experienced cover designer - are split pretty evenly down the middle. I suspect that the people who voted it down are doing so because it seems so derivative. They probably think that I'm riding the coattails instead of poking fun.

More importantly, even my positive reviews are confused by the Twilight thing.

A rave review starts like this:

"Twilight came out over ten years ago, so it's pretty late for a parody/satire/whatever this is. Isn't it? Yes, yes it is, so I was worried going in because if this book's main selling point was "a parody of Twilight" then Lynch might have been too focused on the Twilight aspects instead of making coherent and well rounded story. Well, I'm here to tell you that this book far surpasses what it was inspired by and has quickly become one of my go-to laugh out loud books."

And I got another review the other day which said:

"I am really wondering … (because I do not in any way want to offend an author) BUT …is “Chemistry” by C.L. Lynch meant to be a funny and humorous book? Because if so this author did a great job with her debut novel.

If I am allowed to not take it to serious (even given the paranormal factor I also take those books serious usually) than I have to say I really laughed my A** off .. (sorry for the language but it fits the book) …"

Considering that I've only had a smattering of reviews from total strangers, I think this is significant.

Obviously I could change the name of my characters, delete all subtle call-backs to Twilight, and try to divorce from it entirely. But first of all, I don't think that's entirely honest, and it would involve a really heavy re-working which I don't think I need - the readers LIKE the book, they just can't figure out how to classify it.

Currently I have a tag at the bottom of the blurb calling it "Like Twilight, but with zombies" which is honest, but still doesn't really define what this is. Should I just put "written as a feminist, comedic response to Twilight" or something?


message 2: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
If it is no longer a direct parody of Twilight, why mention it at all? I have never read a Twilight book, have only seen (and hated) bits of the movies... so, you might lose out on demographics of people like me if you continue to link it to Twilight. Others might feel it's not enough like Twilight and complain. Let it be your own work, let it stand on its own merits.

The cover looks fine and reminds me of several books, not just Twilight. I wouldn't worry about that.

Oh and people saying it's lame to parody this or that, people not even knowing if this is a comedy... yep. Welcome to the world of humor writing.


message 3: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Because I'm getting these reviews from people who are seeing the relationship and are confused.


message 4: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
My books confuse everyone and I like it. I may not be very helpful here. Anyone else want to step in?


message 5: by Riley, Viking Extraordinaire (new)

Riley Amos Westbrook (sonshinegreene) | 1510 comments Mod
What are they confused by? Just because it's supposed to relate to twilight? Or because it's funny? I mean, it may just be your voice. I know my books can be quite dark, but have a humorous streak running through their hearts.
Kinda like me x D
Anyways, I'd agree with Dwayne, maybe remove any mention of twilight from the cover or blurb. Your cover looks awesome to me imo, and though it evokes twilight, it isn't close enough to make me think of it without you mentioning it.
Other than that, maybe put it in a Rom-com category? I don't know what that would be on amazon actually....


message 6: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments They just don't seem to know what it IS. You know how people like labels.


message 7: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments I should be clear: my netgalley blurb makes no mention of Twilight. Both the reviews I quoted about are from netgalley I think.


message 8: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) In my opinion, the cover screams Twilight parody, as do the characters' names, so I'd give the opposite advice and say hype it up as such. As Dwayne mentioned, humor is subjective and you're going to have lot of people who don't get that. I write serious and I write satire. To me, the satire is pretty obvious, even to those who didn't look at the categories, but I still get people telling me how implausible my zombies are or how they don't get why my supervillains have board meetings. That's typical with parody, satire, and farsical humor.

As for the tag line, rather than mention Twilight, does Twilight have a tagline you can twist into something that suits your needs? Sorry, never read them myself, so all I know is what I hear online and as you imagine, that's typically not flattering. Other than that, you might use the comment from the review above, noting that the parody is ten years after the fact. Write something that owns this fact and is self-aware. As far as I know, lampooning popular things has no expiration date.


message 9: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Everyone seems to find it funny which is good. But because it really isn't a parody, and it isn't serious fiction either, people don't know what tic do with it. I'' looking for the right word whichever will say "yes thispokes fun a twilight" without misleading people about what it is (calling it a parody when it's not). You see how knotty my problem is!


message 10: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Especially since twilight fans probably won't like it as much - it's the people who love to hate it who will like my book!


message 11: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 611 comments I think your bio covers it pretty nicely when you say the thing about wanting to write something the opposite of Twilight. When worded that way, it does not sound like a parody as much as a story that might be sort of in response to, but is still totally different than, Twilight.


message 12: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
C.L. wrote: "They just don't seem to know what it IS. You know how people like labels."

Maybe I'm still confused, but why not just call it a paranormal romantic comedy?


message 13: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Then that's simply satire. You are satirizing a specific story trope.


message 14: by C.L. (last edited Oct 22, 2016 08:14PM) (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Christina wrote: "Then that's simply satire. You are satirizing a specific story trope."

Satire is definitely closer, but still not right. In order to parody or satirize the book, my book would have to ironically exaggerate the style or tropes within Twilight.

But my book doesn't exaggerate them, it just inverts them - like, instead of a dominant vampire, the love interest is a submissive zombie. Instead of a clumsy heroine who says things like "holy crow" it's a girl with a brown belt who swears like a sailor. It's a unique storyline but it's basically black to Twilight's white.

@Dwayne - sure, and I can, but when I have reviewers who are trying to figure out its relationship to Twilight, it would help to have a word. Surely there must be the right word out there??


message 15: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) That's still satire. You're satirizing the paranormal YA genre by casting into sharp relief how typically the heroines are average girls who fall for some super amazing paranormal creature who realizes what a special snowflake they are. Much like Scary Movie was very clearly inspired by Scream, but spoofed many classic horror tropes.


message 16: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Christina wrote: "That's still satire. You're satirizing the paranormal YA genre by casting into sharp relief how typically the heroines are average girls who fall for some super amazing paranormal creature who real..."

Right, but Scary Movie spoofed it, right? I remember Scary Movie - it took scenes from Scream and exaggerated them and made them funny. This is more like Scream itself, which poked fun at traditional horror movie tropes but was also its own unique story.

Or the way Deadpool subverted superhero movie tropes. Deadpool wasn't a satire, you know? But it deliberately poked fun at superhero movies.

What if I say it is a comedic feminist response to traditional paranormal romance?


message 17: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
C.L. wrote: "What if I say it is a comedic feminist response to traditional paranormal romance? "

Works for me.

The more you describe it, though, the more I agree with Christina. It does sound like satire. Satire needn't be exaggerated. My own satirical short, Cliché is a tiny little "horror" story in which I shoved as many horror tropes into as I could. I didn't exaggerate any of them, I just piled them on to make the reader aware how many of these clichéd devices horror authors and horror films use over and over again with the misguided belief that they are still scary.

Whatever you decide to call it... I have avoided the Twilight craze as best as I could, but I am interested in reading your book. Sounds like something I would enjoy.


message 18: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 888 comments Why not just call it a good fun read?

I think we can over-describe in our efforts not to be seen as 'cheating'.


message 19: by C.L. (last edited Oct 23, 2016 11:29AM) (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Dwayne wrote: "My own satirical short, Cliché is a tiny little "horror" story in which I shoved as many horror tropes into as I could. I didn't exaggerate any of them, I just piled them on to make the reader aware how many of these clichéd devices horror authors and horror films use over and over again with the misguided belief that they are still scary."

Right, but what would it be if you just wrote a story that deliberately avoided using those tropes? Would that be satire? Like, say you took a popular book that used a lot of those tropes, and redid it by replacing the tropes with stuff that was the opposite?

My actual plot isn't that humorous, except for the fact that zombies make everything a little silly. That's not where the humor comes int. It's just the dialogue that makes everyone laugh, which is exactly what I want them to do. I want them to enjoy a serious storyline but laugh at my characters' banter. I worked hard on those characters and I'm thrilled people are enjoying them so much, but funny dialogue doesn't make something satirical. I wish I could write satire - it takes a special wit and skill that I don't think I have.

Dwayne wrote: I am interested in reading your book.

I'd be happy to furnish you with a free e-copy, no strings attached, if you'd like.

Jane Jago wrote: "why not just call it a good fun read?"

Because when the first two reviews I get both start out by addressing their confusion about its connection to Twilight, it makes me think that maybe I should be addressing its connection to Twilight. I even got a star knocked off because the reviewer felt that it was misrepresented. Clearly people are noticing it and it's causing problems/confusion. I need to find a way to promise what I deliver, so readers will know what to expect.

I probably just should have erased all resemblance to Twilight in the early stages, but I didn't. And since zombie-romantic-comedies aren't exactly a unique genre maybe I'd still have problems, I don't know.


message 20: by G.G. (last edited Oct 23, 2016 11:42AM) (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments First of all, everybody knows by now that Fifty Shades of Grey started as a fan fic of Twilight. So maybe just be opened and state it. Yet, personally, maybe because I haven't read Twilight but only saw the movies, I can honestly say I don't see anything remotely close to Twilight in FSoG.

Second, I think this is turning into a 'try to catch your tail but keeps on turning' thread. Whether you want it to be associated or not, you already made up your mind since you added it in the blurb. So...are you trying to ride the tail of Twilight or not? If not, let the people mention it if they see any relation. IF You choose to talk about it, then yes, it is a parody/satire of it (since it is entirely different according to you, that is.)

Third, your blurb alone made me think of Twilight, even without the add-in part, so you must have wanted people to associate it with it...even if only unconsciously. I mean, the moving into a new school, the guy who is 'different' from all the others. I mean sure it's the opposite of Twilight but heck, have you ever seen the parody/satire made out of Fifty Shades? that's EXACTLY what they do. Nothing out of the ordinary for a satire/parody.

EDITED: Even your cover screams Twilight.


message 21: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (last edited Oct 23, 2016 11:41AM) (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
C.L. wrote: "Right, but what would it be if you just wrote a story that deliberately avoided using those tropes? Would that be satire? Like, say you took a popular book that used a lot of those tropes, and redid it by replacing the tropes with stuff that was the opposite?"

You're not just ignoring the tropes but going out of your way to do the opposite, especially for comic effect. That is very much satire. By not only deliberately avoiding the tropes but going out of your way to do the exact opposite, you're showing you are aware of the tropes and making light of them.

Maybe just call it the satirical opposite of Twilight?


message 22: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments I say call it a fan fic story, Like FSoG :)


message 23: by C.L. (last edited Oct 23, 2016 11:46AM) (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments G.G. wrote: "I say call it a fan fic story, Like FSoG :)"

Not a bad idea, but I think it'll get me the wrong readers. I'll get the people who like Twilight, when I need the people who don't!

@Dwayne - yes, maybe that. I'll be so impressed with myself if it actually turns out I managed satire.


message 24: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
C.L. wrote: "G.G. wrote: "I say call it a fan fic story, Like FSoG :)"

Not a bad idea, but I think it'll get me the wrong readers. I'll get the people who like Twilight, when I need the people who don't!"


There you go! If you are specifically targeting people who do not like Twilight, you need to mention it. You need to clearly say it is a parody, a satire, a dressing-down, a slap in the face... anything to make it clear you're stomping on Twilight.


message 25: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 2491 comments C.L. wrote: "G.G. wrote: "I say call it a fan fic story, Like FSoG :)"

Not a bad idea, but I think it'll get me the wrong readers. I'll get the people who like Twilight, when I need the people who don't!"


Well then call it what it is, a parody/satire of Twilight.


message 26: by C.L. (last edited Oct 23, 2016 11:50AM) (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Dwayne wrote: There you go! If you are specifically targeting people who do not like Twilight, you need to mention it. You need to clearly say it is a parody, a satire, a dressing-down, a slap in the face... anything to make it clear you're stomping on Twilight. "

Yeah, okay, I could call it a satirical response to Twilight (God I hope it's really satire. Nothing is more disappointing than failed satire).

Of course it's too late for Netgalley but they may look it up on here/Amazon to try and figure it out if they're confused...


message 27: by C.L. (new)

C.L. Lynch (cllynchauthor) | 316 comments Also, how do I change the listed genres? I didn't add the book and can't figure out how to change genres. It's listed as YA and sci fi, and the sci fi definitely needs to change.


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