Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Trends: Who Gives a Rip?
I always notice people talking about trends in regards to writing and what's hot. I say who gives a fig? That's still kinder than how some agents have spoken to friends of mine who asked that very question, but you get the idea.
These agents were right though, its not about what's hot because if you aren't writing from the heart and telling the best story possible-who is ever gonna care? Let alone you have to write the story well too.
I am convinced that when you try too hard to be cutting edge or what is hot at the moment, the soup du-jour as it were, all you do is make your art look dated-and thereby making it irrelevant shortly thereafter. You don't want that do you?
So when it comes to trends, I am convinced you have to be a leader and not a follower. Can you name any follower who is better known than the leader of any genre? I can't.
Stephen King lamented in On Writing any book with "In the Tradition of..." upon their cover. I can tell you right now that I own a passel of books with "In the tradition of Conan" on their lurid pulpy covers and the only thing I remember about any of them is the cover-the stories aren't up to par. At one time S&S novels were very hot and people jumped on it. Now its Vampires and Steampunk-great.
I wouldn't touch a paranormal romance with a garlic dipped, fifty foot crucifix-it ain't my thing, but how many writers are out there right now trying to sell theirs, because its hot? I'm not saying don't even try but as PYR editorial director Lou Ander's said in a recent interview "You have to be better than brilliant."
That goes for anyone writing anything. I won't write anything if its not from the heart (scary I know).
I say, who cares about following trends-be a leader do something blazingly original.
And I don't wanna hear about everything is taken-we reinvent the wheel all the time-the cycle of what people like always comes back round again eventually, who would have guessed that as Ann Rice waned Meyer would wax so strong with the Dark Side?
In the late 70's who would have thought a quasi fantasy-sci-fi epic would get so big? But it was the right time for a great story that resonated with people. Little things like making it look like a "Used Future" also helped-genius in my book. I think its pretty fair to say, it was quite different from the sci-fi that came before.
And even when it comes to your literary heroes-IF you don't take up the mantle-How will you ever climb from their shadows?
Write what matters to you, write it better than anyone and reinvent the wheel. Be a leader.