Monday, November 11, 2013

Trends in writing, the reading public, expectations and the writer's dilemma

Trends. Trends. Trends. It’s a very risky gamble for writers. Creating stories or basing one’s whole writing career on a trend is a toss of the dice. Trends are fickle. Therefore, one’s career could plummet or stall or fail based on trends. At the moment a new genre has emerged called new adult. I researched it and it sounds like YA with sex and violence or tragedy, or at least the air of tragedy surrounding the heroine. Example: The heroine is an older teen or early twenty-something with some sort of physical or mental assault in her past and/or a huge loss in her life (deaths of immediate family members). And the characters seem to be on a journey through life. Sounds like the picaresque main character in every story written by every Siecle- des- Lumieres philospher/scribes' work I've ever read. It looks like ‘the next big thing” writers are rushing to pen. My caveat: Do it well! We all can relate to being subjected to the slew of imitators who wrote angst-y teen vamps after Twilight appeared. Some did it pretty well; others, not so. And let’s face it, pathetic vamp books are tired. But no matter how tired, the genre abides. It ain’t going anywhere. So, like it or not, I suppose Twilight is the touchstone by which all teen vamp lit is measured.

What work is its equivalent in new adult? I don’t know. All I do know is, there is a lot of it coming out. Which brings me back to trends. Readers, are you buying it because you like it? Or are you buying it because it’s there? Yes, the chicken and the egg question. If your answer is the latter, that mystifies me. Why? Because sooooooooooooo many readers have said that unknown or new premises and unknown authors make them wary. All that uncharted territory scares them. All that unfamiliar landscape they have to build trust with. Wow! If trends are being embraced that must mean that readers do venture out of their comfort zone. Or they are bored with what they are usually reading. Now be honest. Do you follow a trend because it’s interesting or because some publisher’s advertising persuaded you? Hmmmm?

Don't worry. From its enthusiastic reception, it appears new adult ain’t going anywhere either.

Hats off and good luck to the readers and trendsetting writers in this case. 

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