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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wistful Wednesday

Writing to Trends

There are a lot of interesting things out there to write about and when several writers inadvertently write about the same thing at the same time, it becomes a trend. And when other writers jump on the band wagon and start writing about those same things, they are writing to trend. Some examples are vampires, werewolves and now, angels. Fortunately, the interpretations of these subjects are as abundant and individual as those who write about them, so each story is unique and new. Despite this fact - or maybe because of it - there's no shortage of opinions on the practice of writing to trend.

In one camp, there are those who are highly against it, and they have varying opinions on why, not the least of which is the fear that the market will be glutted with poor imitations of more successful works. In the other camp, there are those who see nothing wrong with the practice and who whole-heartedly embrace it. I'm kind of middle of the road on it. I don't fault those who follow the trend and I don't begrudge the opinions of those who are against it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and that shouldn't effect how others act. What matters most is how those individuals feel about what they are doing. As long as they're not plagiarizing other works, there is nothing wrong with following a trend.

Personally, I wouldn't follow a trend unless the subject really spoke to me. Vampires - fun to read about, but I haven't come up with a story of my own I'd want to write about. Dragons? Not my thing. Fairies? Possibly...

Then there are werewolves - here, the lines get a little murky because I do have a book coming out in the fall that deals with humans who shift into wolves, but I wouldn't call them werewolves, at least not in the typical sense. There is no painful metamorphosis with my characters, they shift seamlessly from one form to another and its more of a spiritual, shaman-like (appropriate since their Native Americans) transformation.

And last, there are angels. Angels are huge right now. It seems that everyone is writing about them. There is even talk around the blogosphere that they may be the new vampires. My first book, Nora's Soul, is about angels, and I have a whole series planned around it, the next of which is in the publishing process now. Some might accuse me of following a trend, but the truth is that I've been writing about angels for many years. Although published in 2008, I actually began writing Nora's Soul many years before (I won't say how many!) and I plotted out much of the series long before other books about angels even hit the shelves. I just haven't had as much exposure for my book as others have because I didn't have a marketing team or big publishing house behind me. So I could argue the point that I set the trend - but I won't. That's not the point of this post.

So what are your thoughts on writing to trend? Are you for it, against it? Do you think it has an adverse effect on writing in general? I'd love to see what you have to say on the subject.

5 Moonbeams (comments):

April said...

Great topic! Honestly, if someone comes up with a great story line and it happens to be trending, all the power to them. I just hate when an author "forces" themselves to write on that topic because it is a hot trend/idea at the time. Trends are great, but they also run a gamete. So it is important to right a great story that is great in itself and not the "in" thing.

Anonymous said...

Hello Margay - Nice thought is to write what comes most natural...I know the market has a lot of werewolf books, but I love them. I buy naturally, I write them also.

My werewolves are tweaked a bit, yes, some things might be the same, but not everything. There's always some little twist, even if it's simply a unique character.

Even though the market may be flooded with werewolves, I'm still reading the books and can't seem to get enough of them. (LOL)

So...write what you love...let the passion flow naturally.

Margay Leah Justice said...

Thanks for the input, April and Kay! Looks like we're of like minds on this subject.

V.R. Leavitt said...

Great topic. I don't follow trends myself. If I happen to come up with an idea that fits in with the current trend, that's great, but I don't actively chase them.

Margay Leah Justice said...

I only chase trends if the idea calls to me!