I used to take great pleasure in being ‘unusual.’ It took a while, but eventually, during my school years, I shied right away from being popular and well liked. I was pleased to be part of the ‘weird’ crowd.
Not much has changed, if I’m honest. From what I like (looking at me, you wouldn’t expect me to tell you that I play RPGs and that I LARP as often as I can), to what I believe (my family is quite Christian, I don’t seem to match), to what I do (write erotica). Weird. Apparently.
But what is weird, really? What is unusual? Is it such a bad thing?
I don’t think so. I mean… it’s weird and unusual ideas that are popular with the public. Harry Potter… come on – a boy wizard? That’s unusual. With post sent by owl and sports played on broomsticks. All unusual when compared to the world we live in. But those books (which I love, by the way), have done spectacularly well. Merchandising, films, translations into dozens of other languages. JK Rowling must be laughing at how an ‘unusual’ idea has so changed her life.
50 Shades of Grey. Unusual; at least to those outside the BDSM scene (and to some of those within it, from what I can tell!) and yet that trilogy has done ridiculously well.
I always use these two examples, but that’s mainly because the two sets of books and the two authors are great examples of most of the things I like to talk about.
But are these things really unusual? And is ‘unusual’ as unusual as people say it is? Yes there are fantasy books with crazy worlds, diverse races and strange languages, but are they really that odd? At their core, aren’t they just stories about people? Harry Potter… a very clear example of the fight between good and evil? 50 Shades… a representation of one person’s experience (???) of a new and exciting relationship with a man? That’s all they are. Just because the detail of these stories are different, it doesn’t make them unusual.
When I talk about myself and what I do I often use the following words:
But I’m beginning to think that this is the absolute height of arrogance. Because I’m not. Not really. At my core, I’m just like everyone else; a person with loves and dreams and goals and ambitions. Just like all of you.
Ah well. Better work on a different USP, eh? 😉