Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Writing to Trends

While I love a good werewolf or vampire novel as much as the next person, writing to trends has never worked for me.  Whenever I've tried to write to the cool plotline du jour, the writing fell flat.  My heart just wasn't in it. 

I remember years ago when chick-lit was hot (and, I'd argue that it still is. Just check the books in the young adult section of your bookstore), I tried to write a book about a fun-loving, make-up wearing, clothes-horse of a girl and it was probably the worst bunch of gunk I'd ever written.  It wasn't me.  It wasn't in my heart and that story will never see the light of day beyond my hardrive. 

Besides, I spend hours each day pounding my laptop's keyboard.  I've got to write something that makes me happy and proud.  Of course, my life would be a whole lot easier if I simply loved to write about vampires and werewolves and dystopian worlds.  Instead, I prefer to read the stories of other authors who have far more talent than I do in creating these dark (and highly marketable) worlds.

How about you? Writers: Have you had more success in writing trendy plotlines than I've had?  Readers: Will the world ever have enough vampire novels?

26 comments:

Georgina Dollface said...

I sometimes struggle with trying not to let the trends influence me and what I choose to write about. It's tempting to look around at what other people are doing and think that if you don't go along with the trend you'll be left behind. But I try to remind myself that every new trend started with one new idea that no one else had worked on before. So why not start a new trend with an original idea. What's that expression? "Be yourself, because everyone else is taken." Great post and great reminder on the importance of finding our own authentic voices. - G

Cherie Reich said...

It is hard not to want to write toward trends, I think. People naturally want to jump on the band wagon and not be left out. Personally, I think the best advice I've heard is you need to write the book you want to read.

Linda Leszczuk said...

Tried bandwagon writing. Just doesn't work for me. Then again, I'm not much for reading the latest hot trend either. I like what I like.

J.L. Campbell said...

I've watched the trends come and go, but never tried to write to fit the mould. Take my YA novels, they're about ordinary youngsters facing extraordinary circumstances. I have one under consideration with a publisher, but of course, I wonder with all the paranormal stuff whether I'll ever sell it. :D

As a reader, I haven't yet ventured into vampire novels. They're just not my thing, so I haven't yet tried one. Maybe if I dive in, who knows?

Donna Cummings said...

I don't know that I can write to trends, because I don't usually understand the hoopla of something until it's almost over. LOL I would love to SET a trend though. :)

Heather M. Gardner said...

"I've got to write something that makes me happy and proud."
This is a great statement and I feel the same way. I really want to write about things and people that I like.

As for vampire and even werewolf novels...no, the world will never have enough.

Laura said...

I don't dress or read to trends and never have. I have zero interest in mafia or vampire/werewolf genres. I 100% agree that if you aren't "in" it, the writing will fall down, and the reader will fall asleep. Stick with what makes your heart and soul dance, and that will transfer to your reader. I couldn't put down your book, so you're doing something right! Keep it up. :)

Summer Ross said...

My oldest daughter would say there is never enough Vampires. Personally I can't write well with trends, I don't get into it. I wish I could- really I do-= but I fear I'm not that kind of girl. I prefer to read trends- LOL Have a great day!

Beth Elisa Harris said...

Either the characters are in your head or they're not. You can't force a vampire or werewolf muse (smile). I don't write to trends but don't even think about whether I'm writing to trends. With that said, my new novel Vision puts a different spin on immortality!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I don't really do trends either. I've never written about vampires, werewolves, or the like. I just can't do it. My stories are always a little different than what the market is doing. I've never done fallen angels, the fey or anything like that either! I just write what comes to me, and if it happens to fit in the market, then it will be completely coincidental! ;)

E.C. Smith said...

Nah, I gotta write what I love. Like you, it all falls flat if I try to be something I'm not.

Mindy Ruiz said...

Great post and questions, Liz. I have to write what story is pounding in my brain, desperately trying to get onto paper. Maybe one day a Vampire or a werewolf will be floating around in my noggin'. Scary thought, but who knows? :-D But I Think Shakespeare
said it best: To Thine Own Self Be True.

KarenG said...

I can't write to trends. I wish I could, but it just wouldn't work for me.

Carol Riggs said...

I don't write to the trends; vampire stories aren't "me." And no, some people will never get tired of them. But I think the market will slack off; it's already filling up and moving on a little.

Shelley Batt said...

I wouldn't do any better than you on the trends. It's not me either. I have other ideas in writing and I'm going to stick with that. Writing is hard enough why add pressure to write something that isn't fun for you to write? So I don't. I stick with what makes me happy. As should all writers.

Sherri said...

I get burned out when trends go on too long and it seems like everyone is writing the same stuff. I've never been trendy reader and love it when an author crosses genres!

M Pax said...

I haven't tried to write anything trendy ... yet. I like to attempt being original.

Anne R. Allen said...

I've been a victim of the trend thing, because my social satire was marketed as chick lit during that fad. But my stuff was way too cerebral for chick lit audiences. And now I can't sell it because it's supposedly part of a dead trend.

Vampires are definitely the chick lit of the moment--trending down fast. But they'll still be around in some form forever, just like shoes/shopping/sex novels.

Right now Dystopian YA is the new Vampires. But I can't write dystopian. Can't live with that much pain.

So I keep writing social satire and hope Dorothy Parker becomes the new Jane Austen some day. On some planet.

Liz Fichera said...

Well ladies, it looks like birds of a feather! We are, sadly, not trend setters. That's okay, though. Like many of you, I prefer to read something different. ANd even if a storyline is part of a trend, it has to come at a new and original angle to keep me turning the pages.

@Laura - THANK YOU, girlfriend! Your comment put a big huge happy smile on my face today. :-)

Angelina Rain said...

I honestly don’t even know what the trends are half the time. I write what comes to mind, which for me can be almost any genre. And yes, there are certain genres that are very popular but I have no skill writing them and truly don’t see myself attempting them. I enjoy YA and historical, but I don’t think any of those will ever have my name of the cover.

Angelina Rain said...

Sorry for the typo. **On, not of. **

Christine Tyler said...

I'm completely unattracted to choosing a genre simply because it's selling. Usually it's selling because some big title just came out in it, and in that case, I'm more likely to steer clear of it.

I usually do that as a reader too. I'll read the title that inspired the movement, but I'm not that interested in all the off-shoots.

Deniz Bevan said...

I get this every once in a while from non-writers, and heck even from my mom, who writes and should know better! "why don't you just add a love interest, make it a romance, and sell it?"
Uh, yea sure, mom, right away...
Though I think she's just giving me a compliment - she thinks I can do it!
Meanwhile I'm still mired in editing the latest novel.
I'm with you though - doubt I could ever write about vampires or clothes horse girls successfully. Give me historicals any day [g]

Orlando said...

I wanted to write a vampire story with some slight differences. However, the vampire craze broke out, and it seems everyone is writing about vampires now. So, I decided not to jump on the band wagon. I have had some difficulty writing a specific theme for a contest, so I do understand the difficulty of stepping outside of your comfort zone to write about something we're completely unfamiliar with. Many teachers say it's necessary to develop your full potential. I don't see why we can't just special in a specific area.

Nas Dean said...

I agree with Angelina, write what comes to mind. What you're comfortable with. I can't do historicals or even YA. But vampires....yes, I can!

Liz Fichera said...

Well, you're in luck! Seems that vampire novels are here to stay. The trick, I think, is finding a new angle--although what that angle is, I'm the last person to ask! ;-) Not my cup of tea.