As you can see back in 1985, my sister and I were rocking a few trends: Banana-seat bikes, leg warmers, and those heated curlers called Benders.
They were all the rage, let me tell you. Okay, trendsetters, we were not.
When it comes to writing, do you think it’s important to follow trends?
I don’t know about you, but by the time I’ve identified a trend in writing, it’s already too late to cash in. In fact, I’ve heard agents say to never follow trends; just write a great book. Andy Ward, Nonfiction Editorial Director at Random House says, “Most of the books I work on take two to four years from acquisition to publication, so I feel in some ways that trying to predict trends is a recipe for frustration or even failure. I look for books that have the potential to survive any given moment, that either present ideas or writing that will be as interesting two years from now as they are today. So I guess the trend I try to follow is quality, whenever possible.”
Usually, what dictates a trend, is an uber-popular book. Agents saw a flurry of wizard books after the first Harry Potter. After Fifty Shades of Grey, agents were inundated with BDSM. In 2008, Writer’s Digest reported that in the Romance genre, vampires and paranormal subjects were hot. For thrillers, “terrorism” was on the top of the list, and “sexy, tongue-and-cheek urban fantasy” was taking over the sci-fi/fantasy market.
Jump to 2015 . . . here’s a list of what agents and editors are hoping for. They may not become trends, but it’s good to know what they want.
- Less dark and gritty dystopian YA, and “back into interesting worlds with strong characters and intriguing plot setups.”
- No more heroines who think they’re weak and lack confidence (thank you!)
- YA that features more diversified characters, particularly those with disabilities.
- In Science Fiction, “LGBT characters are becoming more prevalent—less a major plot point and more just a character trait.”
- Science Fiction with thriller/suspense elements.
- One editor expects to “see a lot of bighearted, outlandish eccentricity in the next year or so. . .look for a lot of color and spice this year. Imagination is paramount.” (The Last Illusion, 2. a.m. at the Cat’s Pajama’s, and Preparing the Ghost.)
- Sophisticated voices with contemporary themes that can crossover from YA to adult.
- YA mysteries and thrillers are in high demand.
- Less angst and more fun: “it should be time soon for lighter, frothier material to come back.”
- Historicals set in unconventional settings and time periods.
So there you have it; now go write.
What trends are you hoping will die off? And what do you see making it’s way to bookstores?