What is a ‘cookie cutter’ story?

Q: While reading the submission guidelines to a writing contest, the rules said “no cookie cutter stories.” What do they mean?

A cookie cutter story is one that lacks originality because it is like every other story on that topic. This often is a problem whenever a trend is hot in popular culture; for example, when vampire novels, television series and movies were widely enjoyed during the early 2010s, a lot of writers in love with the subject would simply write tales that were about replicas of their favorite characters and that featured their favorite plot elements in books they’ve read or videos they’d seen.

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My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.