Thursday, April 11, 2013

Are Certain Genres Dead or Dying?

I've been thinking a lot lately about my next project. I keep jumping around from one idea to the next, finding it difficult to settle to any story long enough to finish a draft.

Part of my conundrum is in looking for genres that would logically follow my current project (in the event that it gets picked up by an editor), but also ideas that make me passionate.

As I chew this over, I'm wondering what other writers - and most especially READERS - think. Because the simple truth is, I have a great deal more caution about genres as a writer than I do as a reader.

So, here are my current thoughts. Let me know yours:

1. As a YA reader, I'm getting a little sick of "The every-girl finds out she has super powers / links to a paranormal group, then sets out to save the world". Urban fantasy is officially tired, for me as a reader.

2. Dystopian blurbs are all beginning to sound the same to me, which means (I think) that the market is glutted, so traditional publishing is probably beginning to move in a new direction.

3. I'm in LOVE with contemporary right now. YA, NA, Adult, I don't care. If it's raw and real, I want to devour it.

4. Just to throw all the rest out the window, if I read a blurb that really grabs me, or get a great recommendation from a friend I trust, I'll read ANY genre - and love it if the writing's good and the opening is hooky. So... everything has a shot?

Your Turn: As a READER, what genres are exciting for you right now? Which ones make you roll your eyes and move on?

22 comments:

  1. I'm writing urban fantasy, but I'm trying something slightly different with the usual conventions. Instead the every-girl discovering that she has powers, it's an every-boy already aware of the magic who tasks himself with protecting the magical exchange student whose mysteriousness is negated by his lack of confidence.

    Urban fantasy might have some tired plots, but the genre isn't exhausted.

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  2. I shy away from anything vampire as well as angel. Those are done to death and beyond.

    But UF is still my meat and potatoes with epic fantasy a close second.

    What about Sci-fi? I hear that is coming back. Maybe the Star Trek re-makes have something to do with that.

    CD Coffelt ponders at Spirit Called
    And critiques at UnicornBell

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    1. That's a thought. You're right - I avoid vampires and angels now, too. Thanks for jumping in.

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  3. I write a lot of time-travel, some of it "Back To The Future"-ish and my latest more "Midnight In Paris"-ish. But time-travel seems to be a dying genre, or at least not very popular. The romantic and personal feeling of Jungleland seems to be working. But I'm not sure I have another book like that in me.

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    1. Isn't that funny - I love books that twist or play with time, but when I think about it, actual "time travel" doesn't call me all on it's own. The rest of the premise has to have a hook.

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  4. As a reader, I'm really choosy about what dystopian and paranormal I read. Although, as your caveat says, anything that I'm hearing a lot about or has a great blurb goes on the tbr list. Epic fantasy, both adult and YA, is my genre of choice. Although YA paranormal, YA dystopian, Star Wars, and a small selection of adult historical come into the mix too. I'm trying to branch out, but I haven't found much SciFi besides Star Wars that I like.

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    1. I'm that way with epic fantasy. I ADORE Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. But everything else I've tried in that genre just doesn't grab me. That said, I keep looking. I want another high like that, ha!

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    2. Try Sharon Shinn, Terry Brooks, or Terry Godkind. I like Shinn and Brooks, but haven't read more than Godkind's first book. Also, Game of Thrones is AMAZING!

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    3. The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams might be hard to find, but totally worth it. I read the trilogy (actually 4 books) while waiting for the next WOT book to come out.

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  5. I haven't so much had my fill of certain genres as I've just read too many books with large amounts of OTT angst or endings that have felt anti-climactic. There's a lot of great books out there that I've felt pile on too much drama and hardship for the characters, to the point where I stop caring, because it feels like the author is just doing whatever horrible thing they can think of.

    While I think stories involving a character discovering the supernatural (or alien, or conspiracy, etc) and becoming involved in a previously hidden world are fine, and a logical part of urban fantasy (or any genre where characters have a reason to hide their true nature), I do agree that the "chosen one" angle has been overdone and needs to be given a rest. I like to see heroes who rise to save the day by their own struggle and effort, not because they're automatically the best/most powerful/destined champion.

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  6. My thought is if you have a great main character developed, and a series that seems to be going well--yes even if it boasts vampires, werewolves, and other things that go "boo", the idea is simple. You mix in things that have become "trendy", or different. I've just done a steampunk for the third in my series. I like to throw in humor with the drama. I don't personally like completely serious and don't read very many YA because of the negaive endings, but you do have to make your MC suffer, yet come out on top.

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  7. Aimee, a very interesting question!

    If you are reading NA, pick up Jamie McGuire's books. I just finished Walking Disaster, the sequel to Beautiful Disaster. The first contemporary books I've read in a while - I loved them. They inspired me to write a NA novella as a prequel to my series.

    As someone who is a reader of YA and writing a four book adult urban fantasy about angels, I know what you mean. In YA, I'm burning out on fantasy after reading most of the long running popular series. I never thought I'd say that. That said, when I started writing my series in 2009, there was pratically nothing hot on the market about angels in the adult urban fantasy genre, it was all vamps and shifters. Although I use standard underlying formula, my focus is on writing something character-driven and more contemporary without over-building a world. And I agree with Paul on the layering of hardship on the main characters. I want to care, and I find it hard if they are in constant danger or miserable. Give me real human moments.

    As far as the market: it's bipolar at the moment. After pitching face-to-face ~12 times in the last six months to agents and publishers: 2 told me - forget it, angels are done; 1 told me he doesn't do anything associated to God or angels (go figure); and the rest asked for a full or partial ms.

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  8. I think you hit the nail on the head at the end of your post. If the writing, plot, characters in a book are good and interesting, people are going to recommend it, and the book will be read. No matter what the genre.

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  9. Just write what comes to you. Don't go around asking random people on the street what you should or should not want or think. You seem like someone that knows what they like and what they want, so it should not be too hand for you to just go out and write whatever you feel like. After all, genres are really just ways that we classify stories, and demographics those who happen to read them. Everything else is just window dressing and potpourri.

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    1. P.S. "Hard," not "hand." Ach, mein Gott!

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  10. All genres get a little tired after a big run, but they come back again. A couple of years ago I was told kids mysteries are not selling. But now they're coming back into popularity.

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  11. I'm with you. It takes a lot for me to read a dystopian, unless Veronica Rossi wrote it. But I'm loving the contemp. YA/NA. I say write what you're feeling. Sounds to me like you answered your own question.

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  12. I have to admit, I'm over paranormal! I'm reading sci-fi romance at the moment, since I'm trying to learn more about the genre. But I'm also never tired of a good contemporary romance.

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  13. I find looking into alternate publishers like Angry Robots or Orbit helpful for finding fresher stories as well as varying the genre I am reading. I also read various lengths of fiction and alternate fiction, non-fiction, & poetry. I'm a wee bit obsessed though:-)

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