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Are demons overdone?

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Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust
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I've had an idea, which originally I was going to use as an exercise and write a short story, but it's definitely taking on a life of its own. Unfortunately, it's taking the route of having demons involved and though I haven't heard anything, it seems as if there are sooo many demon stories out there, from Personal Demons to The Mortal Instruments and now a recently very popular cable show. They've been popular for quite a long time and now that it seems dystopian is going out... I'm wondering on everyone's opinion. Has anyone heard anything? Any agents willing to chime in?

 :ranting: (That was the closest to a demon I could find)
#1 - January 21, 2012, 09:28 AM

there are more.

MISFIT by jon skovron which was fantastic read.
i'm currently reading The SPACE BETWEEN which i am also loving.

there's THE DEMON'S LEXICON trilogy by sarah rees brennan.,
a favorite series of mine.

having said that, i personally don't think it's overdone.
i'm much more aware of werewolves and vampires
and faeries and dystopians than demons in YA.

but then, i'm a Dirty Demon Lover and my next
book i'm hoping to sell also has a demon. =)
don't worry tho, it's set in xia so asian inspired.

i think if you're inspired and the story is good, go with it.

i don't get a lot of story ideas. in fact, i have gotten 3. and
i wrote 3 novels. so i write whatever comes to me.

good luck!!

 :bunnyrun
#2 - January 21, 2012, 09:35 AM
« Last Edit: January 21, 2012, 09:37 AM by xiaotien »
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I agree with xiaotien. I see tons of vampires and werewolves, still, and plenty of angels. Demons not so much.

Make it unique. Write the story only you can write. Go for it.
#3 - January 21, 2012, 10:58 AM
Harold Underdown

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I think sometimes it's a perception of saturation bc of personal reading choices or bc inclusion of a creature makes us classify a book in a way readers wouldn't.  There might be demons in some of the books cited (Cassie's & Lisa's), but I don't know that readers would say those  are demon books.  The bulk of books with demons are demons/witches (SRB), demons/angels (Lisa Desrochers, Lauren Kate, Cynthia Hand), demons/vampires/nephilim (Cassie), demons/witches/necromancers/werewolves (Kelley Armstrong).  They're part of a cast, not the thrust of the tale.   That isn't a glut.

I'm never really sure I buy the glut theories though. The only true glut I've seen in YA is vampires, but . . . Sarah Rees Brennan has a co-authored vampire book coming soon, & Holly Black has a vampire book coming in 2013 that I can't wait to read, so perhaps not even that market are saturated.

If it's what you love, write it.
#4 - January 21, 2012, 08:54 PM

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I see demon stories in the slush literally every day. LOTS OF THEM.

that said, if it is super good and different...
#5 - January 21, 2012, 08:56 PM
twitter: @literaticat
ask the agent: http://literaticat.tumblr.com/ask

I would think they'd be practically *crispy*. All the fire and brimstone stuff....

 :ladybug: eab
#6 - January 22, 2012, 10:18 AM

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I think worrying about market trends may be a lost cause. When I started writing my book, mermaids weren't even remotely a thing. Now the book is coming out during mermaid-a-palooza. I think actively trying to avoid trends is almost as difficult as trying to benefit from them.

If you write the book you're passionate about, at least at the end, you'll have the book that you wanted. In an industry that feels so out of our control, we can control that part, at least!

Just my opinion, as always,
Jenn
#7 - January 22, 2012, 10:20 AM
Above World, 2/2012, Candlewick
Mirage (Book 2), 3/2013
Horizon (Book 3), 4/2014

Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust
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eab: I know my MS has quite a delicious one...

Anyway, thank you everyone, I think I received the information I needed to know. I have read quite a variety with different views and was probably just hoping not to hear that demons were last year's vampires. Though I just started reading Rachel Caine's series (Yep, never read it) and I'm not tired of vamps yet. Now werewolves... I never could quite get into.  :hahaha

 :thankyou :hearts
#8 - January 22, 2012, 10:25 AM

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I don't think they're overdone. Unless they're crispy, as eab said.  :evil: But seriously, I think that if the book has something new to say, or says something in a new way, or is what your soul wants you to say, then go for it.

That said, my book has jinni in it and I've heard of at least one book coming out with a jinn in it and it makes me nervous -- even though I know my book is unique in its own way and is the story I really, really wanted to tell.  :bellydancer (Or live in, it seems. It's taking me THAT LONG to get this done!)

If this book is REAL, then make it. (Yes, I know, easier said than done!)
#9 - January 24, 2012, 06:43 AM
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Demons are such a broad subject and there are hundreds of ways to do them.

Demons that basically look like hunky dudes and do things like "smoulder" and "glare" and "brood" are overdone, yes.  Misunderstood demons with hearts of gold are also kind of weak.  Demons who twirl their satanic handlebar mustaches and act cartoonishly evil, like "Mwa-hahaha, I will destroy the world!", are a snore as well.

Things I DON'T see in YA lit regarding demons are the HP Lovecraft variety.  Y'know, the kid of otherworldly malevolent beings that humans can't comprehend at all, whose terror comes from them being so unknowable.  They're not pretty and look like handsome hunks with horns, they're living nightmares that drive people to insanity with a single glance.  Or a demon who just has a really twisted definition of what's fun.  Or demons who maybe aren't satisfied with the current management in Hell.

Demons are so broad that most writers I see using them just wind up using them like the orcs in LotR or something: generic ugly monsters who smash things.  Or the boy-toy flavor of the week since vampires are overused.  Demons are great and have a lot of untapped potential.
#10 - March 14, 2012, 05:33 PM

I understand there's a new HP Lovecraft series coming out -- the pilot volume was buzz talked at BEA. (Obviously it's not by HP Lovecraft, but his name is part of the brand.)
#11 - April 25, 2012, 08:22 PM

JustinDono

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I'd heard Lovecraft had returned from beyond space thanks to the Necronomicon to write it.

Don't ruin my dreams Kurtis! :P
#12 - April 26, 2012, 01:22 AM

Things I DON'T see in YA lit regarding demons are the HP Lovecraft variety.  Y'know, the kid of otherworldly malevolent beings that humans can't comprehend at all, whose terror comes from them being so unknowable.  They're not pretty and look like handsome hunks with horns, they're living nightmares that drive people to insanity with a single glance.  Or a demon who just has a really twisted definition of what's fun.  Or demons who maybe aren't satisfied with the current management in (Satan's home).

A while ago I read 'The Painted Man' by Peter V Brett, which has an interesting take on the horrifying demon trope. Basically, the demons are monstrous beings that rise from the earth's core every night and slaughter anyone who isn't safely inside a warded building. It's adult epic fantasy (not YA), but might be worth a look for an example of demons that definitely aren't love interests.
#13 - May 09, 2012, 03:30 AM
MG/ YA Fantasy from PRH (Aus):

* ƇᕼAᔕIƝG ƬHƐ ѴALLƐƳ trilogy (2013-2014)
* Tɧe HµSɧ (2015)
* Aℊeηt NøмAⅾ series (2017)

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I'd say it's the hook and plot that sell the story, no matter which species inhabits the pages.

Otherwise, the *irresistible flesh-and-blood mortal* trend would surely have peaked and ebbed by now. And yet there's FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY. . . .  :grin
#14 - May 09, 2012, 05:49 AM

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Am I the only one on the planet who doesn't know what Fifty Shades of Gray is about? It is another well-earned phenom or a crappy one?

Also, I'm suddenly loving the idea of really evil demons. Sick to death of "good" ones. Wouldn't a good demon be called something else? Like, an angel?
#15 - May 09, 2012, 07:45 AM
THE FIRE WISH, Random House Children's, 2014
THE BLIND WISH, Random House Children's, 2015
www.amberlough.com

A crappy one. Try a bit of Googling. And I agree-- give us some truly evil demons for peet's sake. I'm tired of the 'such a bad boy he's a demon...who won't really hurt you or anything....because you smell/look/taste soooooo good' types. Heh.

:) eab

#16 - May 09, 2012, 09:26 AM

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Wouldn't a good demon be called something else? Like, an angel?

Depends on if you're using "demon" in the Judeo-Christian sense or "daemon" in the earlier pre-Platonic usage (ie a divine entity of otherworldly or spiritual nature). In the latter usage, there are both benevolent & malevolent daemons.  It wasn't until Plato and the later Judeo-Christian religions that we sett he daemons vs angels dichotomy up.

If you're going with a retrospective examination of the evolution of the mythology, you have both good & bad. If you go with the idea of a modern "demon" in popularized usage, it's plausible to posit demons seeking good (in an inverse of the Judeo-Christian notion of angels falling). If one can fall, one can also seek redemption.
 
. . . and to return to Pam's original post--I wasn't allowed to admit it until the past month or so, but my new series is rooted in daemon lore/myth.  Obviously, I don't do  the Judeo-Christian sort bc that's not my thing, but my publisher doesn't think the market won't allow for it. That said, a dear friend has been shopping a demon dystopian (of the religious sort) that I LOVE to insane degrees, & they've had no luck. The response was that she's had a few times was "controversial" and "risky." I'm not sure what to make of THAT, but that's my updated reply to your original question.   
#17 - May 09, 2012, 10:38 PM

My point is: *most* the literature we currently have is not dealing with pre-Platonic daemons. In fact, by the pre-platonic definition, all of the main characters in my Goblin Wars Trilogy could be considered daemons--creatures of spirit and free will who are not human.

We are writing in an environment where the Platonic/Judeo-Christian worldview is the background noise, (which is why your friend's book is risky) so unless you specifically address the difference then that is the common assumption of your reader.

Most of the books I've seen deal with misunderstood 'fallen angels' as the ultimate bad boys. *That* is what has been done to death.

:) eab
#18 - May 10, 2012, 03:33 AM
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 05:30 AM by Auntybooks »

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I'm exploring a book idea based in the Japanese oni lore, which is going to be fun. :-) Historically, they were malevolent, but in the last hundred years or so, there have been some funny/benevolent spirits.
#19 - May 10, 2012, 07:10 AM
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Most of the books I've seen deal with misunderstood 'fallen angels' as the ultimate bad boys. *That* is what has been done to death.

I understand that.  My reply was specific to the amberlough's comment I quoted on the idea of "good demons" & amending my earlier reply to the original question. I do understand that the modern reader isn't looking at a Pre-Platonic definition :)

As to fallen angels . . . IDK for sure, but I think their blip of success is pretty tied into two big factors: 1) closest to the human/human-resembling monster that was popularized via Twilight, the Sookie Stackhouse series, & the re-printing of Vampire Diaries. There was a confluence there.  The other "monsters" are too unfamiliar to the masses.  A theory of folklore I find fascinating posits that we identify first with those that we know from our culture, then those we know/created, & then those of other other cultures.  Lastly are those with definitions established via the media. Frex, the actual myth/lore of the Zombie is VERY different than the American film zombie. However, texts using the Haitian (ie older & accurate origin usage of the term) are less palatable bc in our country we have another definition that runs counter. You can make the same argument about faeries thanks to Disney's corruption of the lore.  Vampires & angels, however, fit into the cultural comprehension AND they are most like us.  Mix in the Judeo-Christian image of the fallen angel (which is actually not Biblical but largely from Milton's Paradise Lost) & the current cultural obsessions with "redeemed vampires," and the "good demon" is a comfortable and easy switch for the average reader looking for a read-alike.

I'm with you on being sick of a lot of it and wanting my monsters to be monstrous, and the market is shifting darker--largely, I suspect in both a reactionary way (too much sparkle! want teeth!) AND bc of the Hunger Games. I'm not sure how many demons/monsters are bad stories we'll get in YA though. We've embraced the idea of monster as "possibly good" so whole-heartedly that I'm not sure a reversion is likely in YA. In the books cited (Demon's Lex, Personal Demon) & in others I've read (Fallen, Embrace), there are "bad" demons/fallen angels and then there is the exception. . . which, yanno, is kind of like Twilight where the "bad" vampires were predators & the good ones were on an animal diet . . . which is where Buffy was on the vamps. By the time that show (which I adore) was done, the monsters weren't always monstrous.  The other thread is monster as threatening by not to the protagonist (Sookie/True Blood, Vampire Diaries).

I'm not sure if readers would embrace a book that went too far the other way.  I know that in my series the characters who get the most love are the two who do the most awful things: Irial & Niall.  Readers forgive SO much simply because the character loves/protects one person.  Irial has exactly ONE redeeming quality (love--for his court & 2 characters). He kills, enslaves, tortures, & is responsible for the curse that sets the series into play/almost destroys EVERY human. He's the most beloved one in my reader mail & the one readers want to see in a stand-alone. It's crazy, but that one thing excuses everything else for a lot of readers. It's a sense of seeing a glimmer of hope in dark--which IMO is why the "good demon"  or "good vampire" or something else of that ilk is still going to get the love.
#20 - May 10, 2012, 11:42 AM

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As someone who's protagonist is a demon and secondary protagonist is a "fallen angel", I would only add that no topic is done to death if it attempts even a fresh take. Probably why I love True Blood. The vampires are not always dark and broody, not always petulant little adolescents (at least not most of them), not like the recent popular tripe that has me missing Buffy and Joss.

While box office receipts don't always prove that mass audiences give a crap one way or another, dynamic characters can save rehashed premises. I know I did my best to make my characters as layered and insane as most of us are, I hope that comes out.

And as a best selling author of zero novels, I believe my opinion carries considerable weight here.
#21 - July 02, 2013, 06:48 AM

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And as a best selling author of zero novels, I believe my opinion carries considerable weight here.

 Love this!  ;D
#22 - July 05, 2013, 03:14 PM

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