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Chasing Trends

posted Aug 21, 2015, 7:47 AM by Ben Kreucher   [ updated Aug 21, 2015, 8:07 AM ]
Well, that wasn't cool; I typed up this awesome (if I do say so myself) post and the internet ate it.  Time to see if I can't recreate the magic.

Writing what's popular isn't always right, writing what's right isn't always popular.  Okay, so I appropriated a familiar saying and modified it for my own purposes...sorry.  But it holds true.  As a writer, I often seek out advice.  One of the things I read most is: Write what you love, don't write to trends.

I think this advice has to do with the amount of time it takes to write a manuscript, find a publisher, and print it.  Trends come and go.  Sometimes fast.

Let's take a look at a few from popular movies, television shows, and novels.
  1. Twilight was the height of the vampire/supernatural romance trend
    1. Though Underworld helped build that trend
      1. Before that, though, was Interview with a Vampire
      2. And before that was Dracula
  2. Harry Potter was the height of the wizard/magic school trend
      1. Percy Jackson capitalized on the trend, but replaced the wizard element with Greed gods and mythology
      2. Vampire Academy combined the magic school with the vampire
  3. Marvel and DC seek to monopolize the superhero trend in theaters an are inundating the box office with their most famous and some not so well known superheroes and villains
  4. The Walking Dead is the height of the zombie craze
  5. The Hunger Games was the height of the dystopian trend
    1. Though Divergent also capitalized on it
Does that mean I can't write about a werewolf searching for his lost love in a dystopian zombie apocalypse while he skips classes and hunts vampires?

Harry Dresden solved his first crime during the height of the Harry Potter magical revival, yet continues to thrive after the final chapter of Harry Potter came to a close  (of course, so does Harry Potter).  The Name of the Wind was first published the same year as The Deathly Hallows yet continues to gain momentum; though this might has something to do with the fact that the Kingkiller Chronicles aren't finished yet (they are, however, very good [and that helps, too]).

The take away is, write that demon-infested hard boiled detective thriller, but only if it's something you truly are passionate about.  Space westerns with robots, starships, laser swords, and dinosaurs can't be old, yet, right?

Yesterday, the trend was robots.  Today, it's zombies.  Tomorrow, it might be dinosaurs.  Write what you love.  Fill your book or books with believable characters in well-rounded worlds facing relateable problems while fighting epic odds and you will find your audience.  And that's cool (...at least, if you're a writer).
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