Twilight is so last year.
So says my 14 year old niece. She points out that real vampires don’t sparkle, as evidenced by this (Daybreakers):
Decidedly not hot. Except for maybe that guy with the gun.
Hot sparkly vampires are apparently being replaced by hot fallen angels. For evidence, just see this book cover (Hush, Hush):
Holy cats, who turned up the heat?
I would never gainsay teenage girls, with their quivering antennae on the pulse of what’s hot, but it makes me wonder what exactly makes for the birth (and death) of a trend. Writers are constantly advised to not follow trends, and to do the opposite of what “everyone else” is doing, but I wonder if this is really possible.
Trends, I believe, are the reflection of the cultural zeitgeist at the moment. This isn’t just about fashion, or teenage heartthrobs, but can also be seen in scientific breakthroughs and larger cultural moments, like our recent return to sensible spending after the economic near-apocalypse of 2008-09. Trends are a reflection of the age, and while trickier to predict than the stock market, I think it’s important to have some sense of the age that you live in – as well as a sense of the timeless.
Many writers will strive to write an enduring work, and very few will be successful. I think writing something that speaks to the essential conditions of humanity, maybe dressed up in the fashion of the day, will come close to hitting that moving target. I’m not sure that you can aim to write that work, however. In the end, I think you have to be present in the world, and write the story that speaks to your heart.
My philosophical self showed up to blog today. Sorry about that.
Are you writing to catch the next big wave of fiction in your genre? Or are you just striving to get published in a field that is changing faster than Superman in a phone booth (oh, that is so dated! Ouch!)? If you wax philosophical in the comments, be warned: I might wax back.