Yesterday I finished reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I was left feeling both overwhelmed by the excellence of the story and depressed because I don't have that level of conflict in my story. I have been reminding myself all day that I am not writing the same kind of story, but I still feel somehow disheartened. It's tough to see something so good, and to then sit for hours comparing myself and my work to that something. It'd be nice to just appreciate it for what it is and then move on. Or, not even necessarily move on, but just not beat myself up over it. The worlds are so different that I shouldn't even be thinking the things that I'm thinking... (oh no, I'd better add some more violence and kill a few more people or no one will keep reading!!).
Insurgent was fantastic, though. The first book in the series, Divergent, was also pretty good. It's just nice when a second book is as good or better than the first... the story didn't slump at all. The character development improved, the world building was amazing and far more detailed than in the first book, and the conflict...omg the conflict. There wasn't a moment to breathe; no peace, no safety. It was intense from beginning to end. The end, for me, was predictable but really great. It's taken the story from the average dystopia to something much more shocking. It's a direction I've not seen in YA before... and it's just sooooo good. I hate that I have to wait a year to find out how it all ends.
But here I am, comparing my otherworldly YA speculative fiction to a dystopia. Some of the overall themes are similar, but the story...the things that happen to the characters to drive them to the conclusion are completely different. I worry that the basic conflicts I'll present aren't dramatic enough... especially when you take into consideration the complete lack of vampires, werewolves, angels, fairies, or any other fairy tale creatures. No magic, either (not in the traditional sense, anyway). I'm not even going to have a genuine love triangle...or a love-at-first-sight thing (because those totally piss me off). I'm actually so caught up in the 'what-ifs' that I'm stuck. Should I add a bit of violence? It'd only make a complete mockery of the world I'm creating. Book two will have violence..plenty of it, I'm sure. Should I throw in a glitter-covered something-or-other as a love interest, just to get the love triangle thing going? Maybe, rather than having my male leads be science geeks who doing things that seem like magic...I'll give them actual magic. But wait, no...that would ruin the story, too. :| There IS government conflict, but the point isn't to drive the story with conspiracy theories. That'd make a great book, and I'll probably go there someday... but not now.
I just need to stop beating myself up. My story is different. I can't compare myself to everything out there. It's a GOOD thing to like books... :) Mine included... damnit.