Friday, January 29, 2010

WRITERS: Are You a Trendsetter or a Trend Forgetter?

Toot Your Horn Friday!

It wasn't until I started looking for an agent, that I realized a lot of writers follow trends. I had no idea that was even done! I always thought writers just wrote about what they wanted to write about...hence my first novel about rats! Ha, ha!

Now following trends is not a bad thing and sometimes I don't think writers are actually following trends. I think they just start reading about vampires, start loving the vampire genre and then naturally, as a writer, they want to write a vampire book! Actually makes perfect sense to me!
 Do you follow trends? Do you think it's bad to follow, or bad not to follow them? I'm a non-trend follower simply because I can't write about something I'm not in love with. If middle grade novels about super intelligent rats become as trendy as vampires, well, then... Yeah, that probably won't happen!
What are your thoughts! Trendsetter or Trend Forgetter???


xoxo -- Hilary

37 comments:

  1. Anonymous1/29/2010

    I tried to follow trends in the beginning, with no luck. Then I wrote about something I'm really interested in and I'm getting requests for more. So, ex-Trendsetter!

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  2. I write high fantasy because I love it. That's it. It's not a trend - it's not Harry Potter. Fantasy has always been my favorite genre.

    I had an idea for a new novel a couple nights ago - it happens to be dystopian. I didn't consciously choose it - the idea chose me. In fact, I've been debating whether or not I want to write it because I don't want to be seen as trendy. Make sense?

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  3. Michelle,

    Totally makes sense! If what I love to read/write about is "trendy", I'm still going to write about it! Besides, if the writing is not forced, the passion is there, and to me that's going to set that story apart!

    I love what you said, "the idea chose me". Perfect!!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  4. I think passion is the key, Hilary. It's hard to maintain the level of energy required to write a novel if you don't have passion for your story.
    Carmela
    TeachingAuthors

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  5. Carmela,

    You speak my language! Passion is key. Who knew I had a "passion" for rats! ;)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  6. I can only PRAY that I'm a trendsetter - in writing and in life!

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  7. Ha! Gretchen, have you met your bad self?
    1. Fab YA Writer
    2. Amazing Opera Singer
    3. Crazy Circus Performer
    4. Hysterically Funny

    GRETCHEN = TRENDSETTER

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  8. Unfortuantely my second novel is about a witch and a vampire. I knew it would be hard when it was finished to try and sell it, but I didn't care. It was what I had a passion to write about.

    My current wip is about a mindreader in a world not so different than our own. I think it is different. At least I hope so.

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  9. Ebyss,

    I think the good news is vampire and witch books ARE still getting picked up by publishers. Sure, they say the craze is waning, but I think there will always be room on the shelf for the witch and the vampire. There seems to be a love affair that will not die! No pun intended! :)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  10. I agree with some of the other comments, I don't think you can finish a novel (at least not well) if you don't have passion. But for me, I am often inspired by what I read. I love high concept stories and so I tend to write high concept stories. I don't plan to chase a trend. I wrote a novel about fallen angels after I read Twilight. Guess what, a lot of other people did too!

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  11. I would say that I write what I love, and that happens to be the romance genre, I am definitely an ex-trendsetter though because my ideas are a different scale when they come to mind. I suppose in a way you want to be different but the same!!! But for now I love being different :)

    Great Post!!!

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  12. i try to be commercials but no necessarily follow trends - b/c the trends ocming now were sold 2 years ago.

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  13. Following a trend is like trying to hit the bullseye on a dart-board strapped to the back of a marathon runner. Your much better off following the inspiration inside you.

    Thats what I do.

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  14. I keep discovering that I'm writing trends too late, but without even realizing it! Weird how the collective unconscious works!

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  15. Shelli, I feel the same! What's on the shelves NOW is the trend. We all know how long it takes a book to get published. By the time our "trendy" book makes it to an editor...well...could be too late!

    DL, That sounds like an idea for a book right there and certainly NOT trendy! :)

    Tere, I say write what you love and it will eventually see it's day! Everything has it's cycle! If skinny ties can make a comeback... :)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  16. I don't think anyone can avoid culture seeping into them, so we are all influenced by our context in what we write.

    That said, I think it's important to be original. Someone has to set the trends.

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  17. I struggle with the idea of trends. On one hand, it seems like it would be GREAT to be involved in it somehow. But predicting the next big trend in time seems nearly impossible. I'd love to be a trend setter, but so far I haven't thought up anything clever enough! So for now, I march to be beat of my own drum.
    KristinCreative

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  18. David, Totally agree. Culture seeps into our writing! I just read your Friday Flash piece and all I can say is you are setting a trend (a good one)! :)

    Kristin, I think marching to the beat of your own drum makes you a trendsetter, no? My mom always told me I was a bit strange. She just finished reading Edwin Copperpot, my YA Novel about the dead. She loved it, but said, "You are really weird!" Awhhh...thanks mom! :) Weird is trendsetting, no?

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  19. I only write what my heart is in. If it's trendy, then great. If not, then maybe my story will make it a trend. =)

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  20. I'm a trend forgetter, I guess.

    I'm currently working on two books: a Christian novel and my coffee house book which is a collection of stories by employees/patrons about the owner. (It's weird and quirky and a lot of fun to write!)

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  21. I think I'm both.

    I believe you can follow a trend with a completely different angle.

    For example, I've read plenty of vampire books, and some are forgettable and predictable, while others are unique and refreshing.

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  22. Lol! I HAD to get over here when I saw your comment on my blog! Yeah, we are on the same page today:)

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  23. Anita: You have such an awesome attitude! BE the trendsetter!

    Nicole: Your coffee house book sounds really different and cool. I say soon to be Trendsetter, but not in an I'm trying to be trendy way! :)

    Medeia: Totally agree! As far as vampires...Team Lestat!

    Melissa: My evil twin! :) That is too Freaky Friday, no! (Her and I pretty much had the same exact post today!)

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  24. Trends tend to come and go so quickly, you really have to be on top of everything to catch them. I just write what strikes me. :-)

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  25. I don't think authors should follow a trend. I think authors should write whatever they're most passionate about.

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  26. I really just write the stories that I want to read and don't pay much attention to trends... If what I write falls into one, I'm okay with it. But I like it better when that doesn't happen!

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  27. Hilary--I think I told you that I wrote a picture book ms in a folktale format about a rat's tail....way before I found you and your blog. I also wrote one about a spider monkey. I don't think I follow any trends. Two pieces I'm working on are WWII related...There is no rhyme or reason to what pops in my head...and out of my fingertips. :)

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  28. I just write what feels right to me. I agree with everyone who said you really have to love your characters to make it through so many pages together. I am planning a new book right now, but I have no idea what it's going to be about. I know agents and publishers are full up with vampires, so I will try to avoid making a vampire book, but I can't promise one won't show up! I know once inspiration strikes, I won't be able to stop writing.

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  29. I fought myself against having any romance in my urban fantasy bc I didn't want it to be lumped in with trendy 'paranormal romance'. I want to entertain, but it's just as important to me to get the reader thinking.

    In a related note, has anybody else noticed the abundance of magical/demon fighting/demon power tattooes on hard bodies book covers? That's trendy for sure!

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  30. If I were a trend follower in the writing business, I'd have to apply for a job as garbage collector. I can't write fantasy. I know nothing about werewolves or vampires, except that they scare me and I can't read about them after dark. I'm stuck with trying to write stories about reality. I do like a little bit of magic in my books. Is that trendy?

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  31. Shannon, VS, Sarah, Karly, Kelly and Sliding on the Edge(Welcome by the way!): We are of the same mind!

    Shannon: Rat's Tail...Love it!

    VS: In my book, Passion = Publication !

    Karly: How 'bout shady cheerleading vampires? Would that be trendy? :D

    Kelly: I think romance and vampires have joined forces! I have noticed a lot of those covers! I'm not really a romance reader, but from what I've heard, those books have a huge market and a lot of them are really good! :)

    Sliding: I think if writers stay away from boy wizards named Harry, magic is a mainstay and not trendy! :)

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  32. It seems I'm an accidental trend follower. My mind just sort of works how it's going to work. I can't force-write a story to fit into a trend, but it seems the stories I've written, by the time they get written, end up following some new trend. It's actually rather frustrating. But I think that writing a story for the sake of following a trend can be dangerous. By the time you finish it, you're competing against countless others, if the trend hasn't fizzled out altogether. Great topic, Hilary.

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  33. I was a trend follower. I wrote my first book on vampires but then I realized, no matter how much I love vampires I need to write something that will stand out. So I'm writing something I love and created from the inner workings of my mind, so now I'm an Ex-trend follower...

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  34. I think you have to have a passion for what you're writing. I had the idea for my angel book in a dream 9 years ago now. I made a bunch of notes from the dream and outlined a bit. I finally wrote the roughdraft in November of 2008, before I had any idea that angels would become a trend. And now I'm querying an angel book with thousands of others (luckily mine's pretty different than most of what's out there now).

    The other night, I had a dystopian style dream that was really long and vivid and gave me the plot for the first book in a series all tied up with string (not a bow cuz I still have lots of questions about the plot, but still). It's probably because I've been reading a lot of those types of books lately.

    I think there are just certain themes that are out there and sometimes hearing about another book or reading something triggers a "trendy" idea. I say just write what you love and eventually it will sell if it's good. :-)

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  35. I like to follow what is happening in the industry but I always end up writing whatever fits my fancy. It takes me so long to actually fine tune a novel, that if I followed trends, I'd be years behind.

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  36. I definitely don't follow trends. I think it's too hard to keep up.

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  37. I fall into trends without meaning to, but I believe my books are unique enough.

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