The Sky is Falling

There's been some talk on the internet lately about the way the industry is going -- what publishers are looking for at the moment, and what's been overdone.

I read both articles (first this one -- scroll down to the Nov. 8th post -- then this) and my first thought was, Well, sh*t. (To be honest, I actually began to panic before I'd even read the second post.)

The main discussion in the first link was about contemporary YA, but she also said this: "It’s telling me I’ve got to be wary of paranormal. And that there are lots of stories around about teen girls with ‘an altered state of consciousness’ (ie, who transport somewhere else, switch places with someone, live an alternate life)."

But but... that's what I'm querying right now! Dreams! Fantasy! Not paranormal, but still... I mean... what? How was I supposed to know other people were writing the same thing, that the agents were feeling inundated with that sort of work? (Well I did know, because not too long ago I queried an agent who immediately tweeted that it was being done too much. But at that point, FLORA was done, so I was kind of stuck.)

I sat there, outside, in my chair holding Henry, shivering, and thinking, "Now what? What do I do? What do I write? How in the world am I going to come up with something entirely different?"

But you know, this sort of thing happens all the time. One person says things are in, another says they're not. The industry is entirely subjective. It depends on who you know, what you're writing, how you're writing it, and if your voice stands out. (At least, that's what I'm telling myself right now.)

I spent a better half of the day yesterday trying to change my new WiP into something that it wasn't. Into something more daring, more "high concept" than it really was. And for what? To make sure I covered the bases for something that will most likely change in a few short months? Way before I even finish this thing, that came two me a mere few days ago?

Then I remembered this post I read the other day - at the Getting Past the Gatekeeper blog. And it made me feel better. It made me remember that we have to do what we do, the way we feel like doing it. (Further proof of that is the ever-popular author Ellen Hopkin's response in the comments section on the Kidlit blog.)

Sure, FLORA may not go anywhere. Do I want that? Heck no. But if it doesn't, I'll keep writing, finish up this new WiP, and then I'll have yet another novel under my belt. Another piece of work I'll mention when querying -- that may or may not spark interest. But at least I'll be able to mention it, if they don't like the current piece of work. And who knows, by then it may be something agents are looking for again. At least, that's my hope.

We have to get to a point in this writerly journey where we're comfortable with who we are, comfortable with what we write. Because if every single article we read spurred immediate panic, and we all rushed around saying "Did you hear? Did you hear?" there's a whole lot of awesome work out there that would never go anywhere.


Regina said...

Stay positive. I know that they predict things but they are not always right. Some people may never tire of YA Paranormals. I love everything I read. No matter the genre. Just because it is not the new fad doesn't mean that I wouldn't read it.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Absolutely! Write what's in your heart to write. Trends change and you will always have a unique perspective on a subject because it's coming from YOU. :)

Happy, happy querying! :)


Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Regina and Amy - I completely agree.

And thanks, Amy! =)

Travener said...

Write what you want to write. (Like I know what I'm talking about.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Robyn Bavati said...

Nothing is every entirely original. How you write is just as important as what you write, and as long as you have an original slant, and a unique voice, you're in with a chance. The fact that you didn't know about these other books that on the surface may appear similar to your own is to your advantage. It means you haven't copied. Probably what agents are wary of is aspiring writers who read what's out there to get a sense of what the industry wants, then copy it. Obviously, in such a situation the work would be derivative - but this is clearly not the case with you.

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Robyn, thanks for saying that... It probably sounds naive (and I'm sure this happens to a lot of writers) but it's so strange to hear other people are doing what you'd thought was an original idea!