WHO’S TO SAY WHAT’S A TREND?

Posted by: Genene Valleau
Current project: edits on a novella
Mood: Happy and productive (just not necessarily on writing!)

Me writing about trends is quite laughable. For as long as I can remember–and that’s a very long time–I’ve been out of step. The only girl in a household of brothers and male cousins. The only female in cheerleading tryouts who didn’t wear a short skirt. One of three people on the planet who have never watched reality TV.

All this doesn’t mean I haven’t yearned to be “like everyone else” at times nor did it keep me from making some dumb mistakes because I wanted to fit in.

However, I’ve never really anguished over whether to write to trends. Or maybe that’s because I write fairly slow and realized by the time I finished a book, the “current” writing trend would be a tattered paperback selling for ten cents at a garage sale.

I gravitate more toward classics that don’t go out of style: jeans and comfy shoes, suit jackets and tailored shirts, stories of people who overcome emotional trauma on the way to their happily-ever-after.

Interestingly enough, I’ve become bolder as I’ve gotten older. My suit jackets aren’t all neutral colors. The heroes in my stories don’t always have six-pack abs.

And I’ve met more people who don’t follow trends, which may be a trend in itself. Though all people may have some experiences in common such as birth, death and paying taxes–we are all individuals with different tastes in all areas of our lives, including reading.

What a boon for writers! E-book publishers especially seem to be open to stories that don’t fit neatly into one category or subgenre. I like the idea that there may be a market for stories like Minnette’s “romantic paranormal sci-fi fantasy comedy children’s book where the protagonist is a wizard, the bad guy is a gun-toting detective, and the heroine captains a spaceship full of six-year-olds who talk to dead people.” (See Minnette Meador’s post on April 9.)

What’s the most out-of-the-ordinary story you’ve ever read or imagined writing?

Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll write an autobiography about an old lady who wears purple and red and writes trend-setting stories in a dozen new sub-genres that sell at auction for millions of dollars. 🙂

Comments

WHO’S TO SAY WHAT’S A TREND? — 12 Comments

  1. Genene,

    I’ve always felt just a little out of step myself, which is what my agent says she likes about my stories. And the new ed I’m currently courting says I’m relevant, which could be, I believe, a trend in and of itself.

    I think you’re relevant too. So, there you are. You’re making your own tend 🙂 And, isn’t that what makes writers so interesting? There are as many different kinds of “us” as there are styles of shoes to pick from 😀

  2. I don’t know about everyone, but I’ve talked to a lots of readers. Most them tell me they read all sorts of things, not just the tale d’jour and not even a single genre. Kids (YA that is) may have a tendency to stick to a trend while it’s hot, but even there, most of the kids I teach read lots of stuff, if they read at all. BTW, don’t you be eying my plot line, girl! M:)

  3. Genene — Nor am I a trend setter. I’m beginning to think almost everyone, writer or not, feels out of step. I think it may be part of the human condition, that we all feel everyone else got a key card admitting them to this big old hall of “belonging.” Somehow, we didn’t get the card and are left pressing our noses against the glass. So close and yet….

    I agree with Susan, there’s room for everyone no matter how we see and interpret the world.

  4. There are as many different kinds of “us” as there are styles of shoes to pick fromVery true, Susan. Although I think we all have a few of the same kinds of shoes: Track shoes for racing to meet deadlines. Black slingbacks for those NYC lunchs (ha!). Stilettos for impromptu murder weapons…

  5. I think the people who say “Don’t follow the trends” should speak only for themselves. And the people who say “Look for the trends and jump on the bandwagon” should speak only for themselves. There are publishers who say, “Read our books to see what we publish”, which subtly says either “read us to buy our books”, or “read us to see if you fit for our list”, or “Read us and write accordingly”, depending on you, the publisher, and every other possible variable.

    I just can’t do trends. Only now as Vampires are starting to fade am I able to inspire my “anti-vampyr” hero. And really really sexy? Well, I’m getting there, but at my own pace, and when it feels right.

    SIREN, which I’m finally polishing to submit, is a very strong departure for me, being very paranormal, very sensual, and very historical, all at the same time. But I’m doing it because it’s what I need to write, not because it fits anyone’s expectations but my own.

    But damn it’s good. To me.

  6. Hi, Su! Sorry for the delay in responding. House remodeling projects most of the day and a dash to Home Depot. That’s been the reason for most of my delays for weeks–but we’ve reached the rebuilding stage and aren’t just tearing out any more. Hooray!

    So great that you found an agent that’s in step with your own step! Good luck with the new editor. Being “relevant” sounds like a classic, doesn’t it?

  7. Good to hear readers like lots of different stories, Minnette!

    And your plot line is safe from me! I had to go copy and paste it because I couldn’t remember it all–I just knew it sounded fun! By the way, have you started that story yet? LOL!

  8. Hi, Alice! I love your words of wisdom! I can just see us all with our noses pressed to the glass–but there’s no one inside because we’re all outside thinking we don’t belong. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Oh, Jessa, I like your uses for shoes! Gotta be stories in shoes.

    Actually, one of the heroines in a book I’m planning likes really unusual shoes. Not sure what she’ll be using them for yet…

  10. I read PubRants before this blog, and learned trends depend on where you are in this world. And the world looks for the story they want to read. So, being forever out of step, I’m going to write what I love, in hopes the reader will appear when I’m relevant.

  11. Hi, Therese!

    “…the world looks for the story they want to read…” I like that! So our stories will connect with readers who want and need to read them. Much more to my liking than thinking the world of publishing is a giant game of shake up the dice and watch where they land. LOL!

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