Kind of Over It

05 Jun

I’m not a trendy gal. In fact, I have been known to run the opposite direction in order to avoid a trend. As a reader and a writer, I don’t pay much attention to trends either. I read for the stories and the characters, and if the main character is a ghost or a wizard or an alien, I go with it. Sometimes, publishing trends coincide with things I like, and for a while I’m happy.

For example, I love dystopian novels—which I describe as utopian gone awry. Somebody had an idea for a society that seemed perfect at the time, only in practice it has turned out horribly wrong. Hunger Games. Nineteen Eighty-Four. Matched. Fahrenheit 451. All dystopian. I love a really good dystopian. However, in recent years, the market, especially the Young Adult (YA) market, has been saturated with this genre, and it’s grown a bit tiresome. Especially dystopian trilogies. Now, in order to catch my attention, a new dystopian has to be highly recommended by friends or other authors. Otherwise, I’m kind of over it.

Also trilogies in general. Sadly, the market is run by the need to make money, and I think what happens is publishers get a little greedy. They launch the first book with huge acclaim and publicity budgets, and often the first book is really, really wonderful. Here’s where the greed enters in: I think that the publishers push the author to write the second and third books quickly in order to get them out while demand is hot. Often resulting in rather lackluster books. Several trilogies I’ve started in the last few years kicked off with a bang, but the second book was so uninspired that I didn’t even open the cover of the third. (If you’re a publisher and you’re reading this, please feel free to dispute my claim.) Possibly the subsequent books in a trilogy aren’t as good because the author put in ten years writing the first, and only six months writing the second. I don’t know. But I’m kind of over trilogies.

I’m also over YA “issue” books. You know the ones. This is a sex abuse book. This is a cancer book. This is a runaway book. I just want a story, not a sermon, not a cause. I can say this with a grain of salt, because some of my books might be categorized as issue books, but I didn’t set them up that way, so I hope they are just good stories.

I never really got into the zombie/vampire/paranormal trend in the first place, so I can’t even say I’m over that. But I am. Over it. Same with teen romance. I think you know the one (with vampires).

Which begs the question: what am I NOT over? I’m not over historical fiction—although I am definitely over the ruthless monarch who wants to marry daughter off to gain world power. But other kinds of historical fiction, along the lines of Between Shades of Gray (never to be confused with—UGH—50 Shades of Gray) or The Diviners (which has a paranormal aspect, sorry). I’m not over good stories about teens who are trying to figure out life. I’m not over funny stories.

In writing, the tendency to buck a trend is a good thing. Because usually by the time a trend in publishing hits the bookstore shelves, publishers really aren’t buying any more manuscripts in that genre or subject. So it’s usually too late to jump on the bandwagon. Yay for ignoring the trend. I just keep on writing what I write, and hope other people want to read a good story without any vampires or magic or romance that oozes disgustingly out of the pages.


BONUS NOTICE: the Utah/southern Idaho region of SCBWI is holding The Great Critique event. It’s free, but there is an opportunity to sign up for a paid critique by a publishing professional (editor/agent).  Basically, if you sign up, you’ll get to critique and be critiqued by other authors in your geographical area. This is a fabulous opportunity if you don’t have regular critique group or partner, or even if you just want your manuscript read by a fresh set of eyes. See for details.


Posted by on June 5, 2013 in Idaho


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10 responses to “Kind of Over It

  1. marsharwest

    June 5, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Interesting post, Neysa. I LOLed for sure at you not being a trendy girl. I’m always a couple of years behind trends. For instance in the olden days, (when my grown daughters were little) I wore rather large earrings. That was the trend. Then it changed to small earrings. I kept wearing my large ones. By the time I switched to small earrings, you guessed it, the large ones were back in style.
    As to writing to the trend, I’ve always heard, write what you love. And unlike you, I have a fairly narrow field I’ll read in. It’s gotta be romance with a happily ever after. But just a romance won’t do it for me. There’s gotta be a mystery/suspense with it. I’m okay if a little paranormal creeps in. (But I’m so over shape shifters, which I read ferociously (no pun intended) years ago.) I’m okay if a little cozy comes along–kind of like the small town aspect, but I want an HEA and my mystery. I really like my heroines to be older–not in their twenties. Mid-thirties and older. My characters range from 40 to 55. Hope I can find others who will want to read my books. First one is due out July 15 and I’ve seen first draft of cover! So exciting. The good thing is there are tons of readers out there and just as we writers write different stuff, they like to read all kinds of different stuff. Fun post.

  2. Suzie Quint

    June 5, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    That’s kind of what makes the self-publishing trend work so well. When authors decide what to write and what to publish (instead of publishers guarding the gate), someone out there is writing something you want to read. The tricky part may be finding it, but at least it’s there somewhere.

  3. Judith Keim

    June 5, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    Loved the post, Neysa. Write the story that’s within you is a very good motto and one that can be very frustrating at times. I’m waiting for sweet Middle Grade, along with others, to come back. So often I hear parents, grandparents and even kids long for the time when sweet stories were in. I also love fantasy and for kids that never seems to go out…which is a lot of fun!

  4. MK Hutchins (@mkhutchins)

    June 5, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Thanks for the heads-up about the critique event; I didn’t know that was happening.

    Also…I can’t help but recommend a good book. WHAT’S LEFT OF ME by Kat Zhang — it reads a lot like a dystopia, but it’s alternate history. I loved it. It does fall into your dreaded trilogy category (second book coming out soon!), but the first one works fine as a stand-alone, too. So good.

  5. robinconnelly

    June 5, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    I’m not sure if I’m bucking a trend. I was writing vampire novels and other paranormals long before they became popular. I started in 1999, 2000 somewhere around there. I’ve been re-editing one particular book ever since. I think its almost ready for publication, FINALLY! But if I publish it now I’m going to hear the “Well, she’s just getting on the paranormal bandwagon” a lot. Can’t win it seems.

  6. Jennifer

    June 6, 2013 at 8:06 AM

    I love the IDEA of a trilogy because I always want to spend more time with the characters I fall in love with. Unfortunately, the second and third books often do fall short though.

  7. stephanieberget

    June 6, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    Neysa, thanks for the information on the critique event. It looks very interesting. I don’t think I could write to a trend if someone put a gun to my head. My books come out the way they do and I can’t change it. I had to laugh about the trend. Farming is the same way. The people who are successful keep at it year after year, whether they raise cattle, hay or crops. Some years are up and some are down, but if you keep chasing what is up, you’re always a step behind.

  8. Corina Mallory

    June 6, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    I think even if we love a trend, we can overdose on it. The quality of the writing may not deteriorate, but once we’ve seen the same conventions over and over they don’t necessarily work on us the same way they did in the beginning when the infatuation was new. I’ve overdosed on regencies, romantic suspense (what’s with all the damn stalkers and serial killers!?!?), military heroes, werewolves, etc. But I still appreciate that there are people out there writing those kinds of books because there is a reason I loved them. Some day, once my memory has faded, I’ll want to read more of them.

  9. maryvine

    June 11, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    What I find interesting about the people of this world is that there are so many interests, we are not all the same. We enjoy different things, read different things. Thankfully there is some book out there for all of us.

  10. Peggy Staggs

    June 19, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    I don’t tend to follow trendy books either. I don’t know what is so great about the NEW vampires. I love all sorts of fiction and nonfiction. So I write what I read and hope there are others out there that will want to read them someday.


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