A wise person once said, “if they give you ruled paper, write the other way.”
Those words still resonant with me today, even after all this time. They hold meaning. But what does that mean in these times? Who writes on pape anymore anyway? Who has rulers? Sometimes I like to think nowadays it applies to book trends.
The thing about books (and this is very relevant to my favourite area Young Adult fiction) is there is always a favoured area and some not so favoured areas. A while back we had the rise of the paranormal, followed swiftly by it’s demise in favour of dystopia. Trends aren’t necessarily bad for your writing or for books in general. I think they’re a great way to shed light on great work! But trends can be a drag when a market becomes over saturated. For a while we all needed to take a moment and breathe somewhere very far away from vampires and werewolves.
For a second or two in publishing (which roughly equates to a few years in the industry because idk if anyone has told you this yet but publishing is slow, man) we all needed to recover from that trend.
So how can you avoid writing something that’s off trend, or worse over saturating a market? Honestly, I don’t think you can or should. If a book feels like it needs to be written then you should write it. The worst that can happen is that maybe you put it in your back pocket for a few years as you wait for things to come back around.
I think words deserve to be written.
Certainly, I don’t think it’s necessarily worth writing on a trend — by the time you finish it might already be over — but to my mind there’s no sense in avoiding something just because it’s been written before.
All the great people know that everything has already been written before. It’s not about what you write. It’s about how you write. That makes all the difference.
If they give you lined paper, write the other way. If they try to push you in a box, leap out of it. If they tell you it’s all been done before, nod and show them how differently you can do the things that have come before.