Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Musing on Trends

Happy Wedding Anniversary to my parents!

If the way I feel now is any indication, by this afternoon or tomorrow morning I will be barely mobile. I don't know if ballet class was particularly tough last night or if I was working particularly hard, but my thighs are already stiff and sore, and usually the post-class soreness doesn't kick in until later.

I may have sounded a little whiny and self-pitying in yesterday's post about how my taste seems to differ wildly from the bestsellers and the potential implications for my career. Really, doing that analysis made me feel better. In case you haven't noticed, I tend to be a pretty analytical person, and having actual information makes me feel a little more in control of a situation because I can set my expectations accordingly.

I'm actually in about the same situation market-wise as I was when I was writing Enchanted, Inc. in that there was absolutely nothing in the market like it at that time. Now I may even be in a better position because the urban fantasy category is so strong and what I'm writing kind of fits while being rather different from what's currently on the market. So, there is a place for it to go if they're willing to take a chance on something a little outside the mold. "We don't know how to sell this" or "we don't know where we would put this" is one of the more frustrating rejection reasons, and I don't think that would currently apply to my work.

I've learned the hard way that chasing the market doesn't work for me. All I can do is write the stories I want to tell. Trying to jump on what's currently hot will only end in frustration, and I don't think I would be successful. For instance, it would be a massive failure if I tried to write a sexy vampire book, no matter how hot those are, because I don't get the appeal of those books, and I've tried. I've read the major ones, at least the first books in the series. I've read the ones where people said, "Oh, but this one is different. You'll like it, in spite of the vampires." It's not that I think the books are bad. I just don't understand why people find them appealing. I seem to be missing whatever emotional trigger makes people respond to that. If I tried to write one without understanding why people like them, I don't think I'd be writing something people would like. Ditto with werewolves. I don't like men with facial hair, so I find myself cringing instead of swooning at the thought of a man who moonlights as a wolf. I think that adding magic to the classic "noir" PI story is brilliant, but Jim Butcher has already done it in a way that comes pretty close to the way I'd do it, and I'm already so bored with the rest of the field that I'm not sure I could entertain myself by writing something like that. Sometimes I do get my best ideas by being a brat and coming up with my own bizarre take on a trend, so it's possible I'll come up with my own way to do the supernatural PI story, but so far nothing has struck me (although if the book I'm currently writing spawns a series, it would kind of veer in that direction, with this book being the origin story).

What I did notice in a further analysis of trends in fantasy is that I've got some of the elements that show up in popular books in the book I'm currently working on, but in a very different way. I've got a couple of classic story styles intersecting to create something pretty unusual. I just hope I can pull it off, that it isn't too unusual and that the publishers don't try to typecast me too much.

I think I'm more frustrated as a reader because there's so little out there right now that's to my taste. That's what spurred me to write my series to begin with, because I thought something like that should exist. It would just be nice if more other people wrote something kind of like that, so I'd have something to read. It's less fun to read if I wrote it.

The nice thing is that even if current books and movies aren't to my taste, there's a lot on TV right now that offers what I'm looking for, even if most of it doesn't involve magic. The schedule is full of shows with likable characters who have interesting relationships with each other, a mix of humor and drama and an overall optimistic viewpoint. There's Chuck, NCIS and its spin-off, White Collar (and, really, all the USA Network original series), Leverage, Warehouse 13 and the new Human Target (though it would be nice if Fox would show two episodes in a row in the same time slot. So far there have been three episodes, each of then on a different day of the week). The really interesting thing is that most of these are either Universal properties or air on Universal-owned stations (and NCIS, while not being a Universal property or first-run on anything Universal-owned, is a syndication staple on USA). So it does seem like I'm on the same wavelength with someone.

1 comment:

Derek said...

I was searching blogger for lovers of musical theater and ran across your blog. Sounds like you are quite a successful writer and I surely do appreciate that. Check my blog out TIRED AMERICAN DREAM. I am going to archive the journey as we premier my new musical. Exciting for me! Anyway, hope Universal does pick up your book. That could surely be a huge turning point for a writer, right?
Take care.