You guys, I’m so lucky because today I get to have my friend Sara B. Larson guest post. Not only is she a freaking awesome human being, but she’s a talented writer with serious know-how and experience. AND I know it won’t be long before she sells her book, so. yeah. I’ll be one of the super ones who can say she was on my blog before she’s too busy on her world book tour to guest post any more.
Plus, this means I don’t have to write up a post for today. Score!
Check out what she has to say about writing to trends.
Writing to Trends
by Sara B. larson
You hear it all the time, what the next “BIG” trend is going to be. What you should be writing RIGHT NOW if you want to get a publishing deal. I see aspiring authors scrambling to drop their WIP about fallen angels to work on something about mermaids (because ‘you-know-who’ mentioned that’s what she was thinking about working on next), then drops the mermaid WIP, to go back to a dystopian they had shelved a year ago. Why? Because dystopian got hot again! Oh man, it’s enough to give anyone a massive migraine.
So, should you pay attention to the trends—should you tailor your writing to what’s “hot?” Or should you write what speaks to you, focus on the story that you truly love?
I can’t tell you for sure, but here’s my opinion (for what it’s worth, which may be nothing). You have to write the story you love or you may never land an agent and sell your book.
Harsh? Maybe. True? Usually. When you aren’t writing what you love, it shows. Or to put it the other way: when you are writing about characters you adore, and a plot that makes you breathless with anticipation of the words yet to come, that’s when you will do your best work. And it will show.
Besides, unless you have an “in” with editors and agents who can tell you what the publishing houses are looking for right now, you will most likely be behind the trends anyway. What’s on the shelves was the ‘hot ticket’ well over a year ago in the agenting/submissions world. And even if something is considered “done,” no sub-genre in YA is ever truly full. There is always room for something else if it is unique in some way and well-written.
Case in point: I have a friend who wrote a story because she had an amazing idea that reached out and grabbed her. Many people were saying dystopian was over, that the market was saturated, that no one would want it. When I read it though, I knew she had something special on her hands. When she started querying her book, a few agents even told her that dystopian was over. Not many though – most of them were fighting to represent her. She wrote something she loved, it showed, and she landed an agent and a deal very quickly. Wanna know who I’m talking about? Have you heard of a book called… MATCHED?
Write what you love and others will love it, too. Unless you want to write about a six-eyed octopus who transforms into a man on the new moon and falls in love with a half-faerie, half-cyclops who has some real self-esteem issues. In that case, you may want to take a look at the trends.
Now meet Sara, aka Sweetness (that’s my name for her, but feel free to borrow it).
I have been writing since I was in second grade, and have the notebooks full of misspelled stories to prove it. Over the intervening years, my love of writing has grown even stronger, and luckily my spelling has improved as well. I almost got a “marketable degree” as a nurse at BYU, but turned back to writing when that didn’t work out. I live in Utah with my husband, two young sons, and a Maltese named Charlie. I've learned to write during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. When I'm not writing, getting shot with nerf guns, or tripping over soccer balls, I can be found wakeboarding at the lake, hiking in the mountains, cooking, or working out at the gym. If all else fails, you can probably find me hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. I am represented by the fabulous Hannah Brown Gordon at Foundry Literary + Media.
Be sure to check out Sara’s blog!
Thanks so much for guest posting, Sara!
*runs off to go hide moon-man faerie-clops romantic comedy*