Most writers love listening to editors or agents speak at conferences, or reading their interviews. When asked what they’re looking for in terms of stories, they’ll often say something fresh. What does fresh mean in their eyes? They’re not talking about flirtatiousness or cool air. :) In my opinion, they’re talking about something they haven’t read a hundred times before, or even ten times before. They want uniqueness and originality in both the story line and the writing style. What that means for us is... trash those clichés of all types. Not just things like “avoid like the plague” but also uninventive descriptions of kisses or anything that is similar to what we’ve read in the past. If it makes you think blah, blah, blah... it's out.
How can you make your writing fresh? Read a lot and write a lot. When you read, you will sometimes come across passages, sentences or descriptions that sound bland and boring to you, maybe because you’ve read something similar before. That means it isn’t fresh. When you read something fresh, you think wow, I wish I’d written that. How vivid and original that is.
The more you write, the more experience you acquire and the fresher your writing becomes. Often the first things we write are not incredibly fresh. We are, after all, learning how to write from the ground up.
If you judge unpublished writing contests, you will often see passages that are not fresh enough. Use this experience to learn what is fresh and what isn’t.
Story lines that are the “same ole same ole” are also not fresh. If type of story has been done a million times, like vampires or regular Regency romance, then you need a completely new, inventive spin on the tried and true. Unique hooks and high concepts that quickly catch an editor’s attention are usually fresh. Think of “fresh” as new. Something you haven’t read before.
What would you consider “fresh?” Or have you read any fresh stories recently?