Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vampires and Genre Trends

Once upon a time, I discovered vampire stories.  You know, the ones where the scary guys weren't necessarily the villains.  I vividly recall helping my sister hunt through rows and rows of titles at the used book store for something that might fit the bill.  We probably searched for an hour and came up with one or two books.  (I think this is when I found my copy of "Sunshine" by Robin Mckinley- one of my favorites, even though there wasn't nearly enough sex in it for me.)

So, I was excited when vampires started getting popular. Now I have to admit that I am sometimes slightly annoyed that it isn't the unique thing it used to be.  I didn't used to share my tastes with teenage girls, for example.  But hey, now I can easily find the genres I love anywhere I go.

Now, of course, I write what I love to read.  It follows that I would naturally be inclined to write stories of vampires, and werewolves, and any other paranormal creature I can think of.  But there is this stigma surrounding vampire stories now.  I have seen many agents state that they are looking for paranormal, or urban fantasy stories "but no vampires, thank you." I feel gypped. If I had been ready to query a few years back when I first started writing, agents would have been thrilled to grab up that kind of thing.  Now the market is saturated and it's not a new trend.

But still, you have to write things that are interesting to you, or else it will come across in your writing that you aren't engaged in it.  Then, well... it will suck.  I have seen, over and over again, agents, writers, etc. saying don't write to trends- just write the story you need to write.  So that is what I continue to do.  Maybe vampire stories will stay popular for a long time to come.  Maybe they will lose popularity and then someday become popular again.  Who knows.  I still like vampires.  I'm going to write about them.  But will I ever sell a story about them?

Should writers only strive to write what they love?  Or should we try to predict and ride the trends? And how do you write to a trend when the book you are writing now won't see print for so long that the trend won't be a trend anymore anyway?
Z, K, Y:  "Are you saying we're not trendy?"
Me: "Don't worry- I'll always love you!"

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