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What's hot & cooling off in fantasy these days?

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m_stiefvater

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I have to say this whole topic always gets my knickers in a twist, as someone who has read and written YA fantasy ever since I could phonetically sound words out.

I'm against chasing trends and for chasing what you love, and if you love vampires (I do not), then go for it. If they're your passion, you'll find a way to write them with passion and twist. It's the folks who jump onto trending bandwagons that give us the meh piles of vampire (or insert your creature here) books. I feel like you can tell, when you're reading, if someone wrote a novel to fit a trend or hit a market.

Also, I hate this idea that any creature could be done to death. It's like saying "teens have been done to death in fiction-- I feel like there are teens in every YA novel these days!" It's not the creature. It's how it's told. And I feel like we are getting a certain KIND of vampire stories (vampires that you can kiss! bad ass heroines! kung fu action!) and a certain kind of faerie stories and a certain kind of werewolf stories, etc., but people aren't thinking outside the Buffy/ Twilight box. One of my crit partners just sold a fairy novel, for instance, where the fairies are never named and it's about a town and stigma rather than about fairies -- it's a fairy book so outside the fairy box that some teens may not even make the connection.

So . . . I say write whatever creature makes your novel sing. Creatures themselves are neither good nor bad .  . . they're just characters that have to operate by a certain set of rules (which is true of every character). It's what you DO with them . . .
#61 - December 19, 2009, 10:57 AM

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I have to say this whole topic always gets my knickers in a twist, as someone who has read and written YA fantasy ever since I could phonetically sound words out.

I'm against chasing trends and for chasing what you love, and if you love vampires (I do not), then go for it. If they're your passion, you'll find a way to write them with passion and twist. It's the folks who jump onto trending bandwagons that give us the meh piles of vampire (or insert your creature here) books. I feel like you can tell, when you're reading, if someone wrote a novel to fit a trend or hit a market.

Also, I hate this idea that any creature could be done to death. It's like saying "teens have been done to death in fiction-- I feel like there are teens in every YA novel these days!" It's not the creature. It's how it's told. And I feel like we are getting a certain KIND of vampire stories (vampires that you can kiss! bad (word censored) heroines! kung fu action!) and a certain kind of faerie stories and a certain kind of werewolf stories, etc., but people aren't thinking outside the Buffy/ Twilight box. One of my crit partners just sold a fairy novel, for instance, where the fairies are never named and it's about a town and stigma rather than about fairies -- it's a fairy book so outside the fairy box that some teens may not even make the connection.

So . . . I say write whatever creature makes your novel sing. Creatures themselves are neither good nor bad .  . . they're just characters that have to operate by a certain set of rules (which is true of every character). It's what you DO with them . . .

Well said. I wrestled with this issue for the longest time and just decided that I'm going to write what I know and what I love (epic fantasy) and try to write it the best I can. Let trends work themselves out...well-written stuff is going to endure no matter what.

Plus if you write by trend, you will ALWAYS be behind the curve.
#62 - December 19, 2009, 05:25 PM

I totally agree, ebenstone.  Plus, if today you decide, hey, I'll write a novel about such and such, it'll take at least a half a year to get it done, another few months to shop it around, a year or two for it to then get published.  So what is out now is really reflective of an acquisition trend of a year or two ago.  It is helpful however to know what is currently piled up on editors desks, if only to inspire us all to be even more inventive in whatever we are writing.  And also invaluable to be aware of what's out there now, just so we can avoid duplicating plot twists, etc. I'm revising a novel right now that involves a ghost, and, wow, is it ever a challenge to not tread into the territory already recently written by others. 

But ultimately, as always, it's all about our own original voice and personal twists coming through in our writing. And our passion! 

Write on, blueboarders!   :snoopy
#63 - December 20, 2009, 07:48 AM
GREEN, GREEN (FSG pb '17)
DRAWN (YA)
OVER MY HEAD (YA)
WHAT I MEANT... (Random House YA)
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I hear you Maggie, ebenstone and Marie, but there is still a place for discussing what's hot and what's not. For those that are curious.  I like to hear what keen fantasy readers/writers feel about the market, without having any intention to chase its whims, or suggest any writer can't rise above its fickle demands. I find the discussion stimulating and everyone's opinions fascinating.

I hope nobody is finding it discouraging after Maggie, ebenstone and Marie's rallying posts - read them again if you are.  :yup
#64 - December 20, 2009, 04:56 PM
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kazdreamer

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On the subject of Norse mythology, that's something I'd love to see more of. A good friend of mine has her norse YA trilogy currently being shopped by her agent... You know what editors are saying? They don't really know enough about Norse myth to make a call on it. Some have never heard of Ragnarok. And that's fine... But if the people buying the books say they want something different, but then when faced with that very thing say "I don't know enough about it - where are the vampires and werewolves and fey?" we're not going to get very far! ;)

I have a vampire book going out on submission in 2010. Me and my agent are probably crazy, but this really is a book filled with love and lore. We hope it finds a home.  :smile
#65 - December 21, 2009, 07:43 AM

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When I finally decided that "this is what I want" is when I got the focus to do what I needed to do, and it's working out. While I've compared my work to GRRM's "A Song of Ice and Fire" someone else compared it to a MG/ young YA series in the same vein that struck a cord with them and helped me get representation!

Funny thing is that said series, John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice, had actually nudged me in the direction of YA in the first place!
#66 - December 21, 2009, 09:29 AM

JustinDono

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I hear you Maggie, ebenstone and Marie, but there is still a place for discussing what's hot and what's not. For those that are curious.  I like to hear what keen fantasy readers/writers feel about the market, without having any intention to chase its whims, or suggest any writer can't rise above its fickle demands. I find the discussion stimulating and everyone's opinions fascinating.

I hope nobody is finding it discouraging after Maggie, ebenstone and Marie's rallying posts - read them again if you are.  :yup

I completely agree with their sentiment.  I went through the same thing about 2-3 years ago when everybody was saying "Waaah, portals are overdone."  I didn't care.  Didn't change the fact that there was a LOT of portal stories floating about, justlike there's a LOT of vampire/werewolf/fairy stuff out now.  (as well as the over-saturated girl-falls-in-love-with-dangerous-boy-who-is-also-a-supernatural-creature schtick)  But a good story and good writing make that not matter.  But again, there are stil ltrends, and the attention can shift from one thing to another.
#67 - December 21, 2009, 09:49 AM

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