Saturday, August 12, 2006

To Buy A Fat Pig


To market, to market...
Not to mention bulls 'n bears.
You could call the whole trend-spotting thingy in the genre world a kind of speculative fiction all by itself.
Chick Lit is out. No, it isn't, it's just undergoing correction.
Paranormals are hot. No, they are a glut on the market. Can't move a vamp or a shifter for blood nor money.
But, but...
You knew, btw, that paranormals mean vampires and shape-shifters, did you not?
Mmmhmm, surprised me too.
Historicals are dead. Doornail dead. Buried deep. No, they are being dug up and making a come-back. Stocks rising.
Oh, and historicals means pure regency, in case you didn't realize.
Yes, me too.
Romantic comedy is dying. On it's last legs. Fizzling like an old firecracker.
Are you sure?
Westerns? Took a loss there? I hear that...
All sounds like the floor of the stock market, doesn't it.
Ground floor fever, paper flying everywhere.
All it takes is one editor or agent at some convention or other to say they are tired of a certain plot line or looking for another and the rumours ripple outward like waves on the sea.
Oh Alice. Look out for the Assyrians.
One of the causes for these endless waves of panic or anticipation in romance circles appears to be an indentured adherence to formula as well as rigid sub-genre definitions.
If paranormal is categorically construed to mean only those fascinating creatures, vampires and weres, I think I will make sure the word does not appear in any query of mine.
All this time I thought the class and phylum included ghosts, time travel, psychics, assorted mythic creatures, odd gods...
Wonder if the mystery, horror and sciency fiction/fantasy stables and sheepfolds suffer from the same agitation about what's hot, what's not.

31 comments:

Robyn said...

I would assume that the other genres suffer as well. As a mystery lover, I hate it that every mystery I pick up seems to be a 'Silence of the Lambs' type thriller. I don't really want to get inside the head of a sexually/socially deviant serial killer, thank you. And just once, can we have a police department that isn't corrupt except for our rule-breaking cop hero?

I can still count on Anne Perry for fog shrouded, gas-lit Victorians, but I miss the good old English cozy mystery. They're hard to find these days.

Bernita said...

I am with you entirely, Robyn, and please can we have a few mysteries where the cops don't routinely beat up the (usually innocent) prisoner just because they don't like him?
The "brutal cops" thing can be tiresome, if not well-handled and with sufficient justification and the disconnect from the real world of lawsuits, etc.

MissWrite said...

Can't move a vamp or a shifter for blood nor money.

ROTFLMAO... what a choice of words!

I think that will keep me laughing all day long.

Great subject though. Hell, according to one source, or another, if you ask enough people, the entire industry appears to be in the basket.

Maybe, thanks to the Internet, file sharing, etc... it's got a foot in the hole, but I don't think we need to count this baby down the drain until we hear the last gurgle.

Just like clothes, hair, music, etc... genres come, go, and come back again with almost predictable regularity. That's why, to me, probably the best advice is--write what you love.

Some day, just like that old pair of hip-huggers, they'll come back in style.

Bernita said...

Can't slip anything past you, can I, Tami?

You'd think, reading about complaints over dying trends and/or the lunging keyboards toward the next hot one, that all genre stories were cut-out doll's clothes - just turn the page from parasols to leather.
I'm assuming what they love is romance, not the particular trend in it.

MissWrite said...

Hey, Bernita, I just noticed something in browsing around that I hadn't before. Did you know you had a sidebar link on PBW's blog? How cool!

Bernita said...

Astonished to see it, Tami.
Very sweet of her, especially the category "Greensleeves."
I seriously love that.

Jaye Wells said...

Bernita, I was unaware that paranormal meant only vamps and shape shifters. Where did you get that bit of info? In my circles, ghosts, witches, etc. are considered paranormal.

I sure as hell hope a paranormal can be moved for at least money since I'm shipping my vamp book out today!

MissWrite said...

Just read your blog, Jayne: Good luck! Fingers crossed for you. Hope she 'kicks butt'.

MissWrite said...

um, sorry... Jaye. Fingers had a mind all there own there for a moment.

EA Monroe said...

The other day when PWB was lamenting over her delete blog button and asked what excitement was going on in our lives, I said, "Visiting Bernita's blog!" I think you were posting about Hauling Ass that day -- one of those rousing, fun-filled posting days that make me smile and look forward to the next day's entry!

I was wondering, does Point of View fall in and out of favor/slyle, along with genre?

Bernita said...

Thought I had made it plain that such a limiting and narrow concept is definitely NOT my idea of what defines paranormal, Jaye.
The source for it? Some comments on Romancing the Blog yesterday - and elsewhere.
I seriously doubt that paranormals of any type are passe, there are too many areas within the genre not yet explored - and the industry is still requesting the same full-throttle.

Bernita said...

Nice of you, EA.
It apparently does. Everynow and then the statement will be made about first or second POV being undesirable - yet books continued to be published containing them.

MissWrite said...

POV's do go in and out of 'style', but the reason certain POV's are a hard sell, even though you see them published regardless is that there are a couple that are damned hard to do well.

1st person is extremely hard to do, and still make the story both encompasing to all the characters, and warm for the reader.

Omniscient is very difficult to do without slipping into passive past tense, and being boring.

If you can do either well... style be hanged, you'll get published in them.

Rick said...

Other genres certainly go through this as well. The crisis in SF is perpetual. And over at Pub Rants, Kristin Nelson says that urban fantasy is hot - but only, I suspect, if you have one ready or nearly ready for submission. If you sat down to write one, chances are that urban fantasy would be dead (or at least proclaimed dead) by the time you started to query it.

In SF/F it is further complicated by the struggle of our own in-ghetto critical establishment against the vulgar masses. I don't know whether romance has an equivalent.

I used to read hardboiled now and then, but I gave up after one more guy boinking his daughter. Doesn't anyone kill for the insurance money any more? Does it always have to be something twistedly sexual?

MissWrite said...

LOL@Doesn't anyone kill for the insurance money any more?

Bernita said...

~wincing~
Turned me off Ruth Rendall in fact.
And that's a very good question.
Why aren't there more fictional murders for the usual reasons, like money ambition, jealousy?
Are these motives considered cliche?
Sex sells, but does it have to be perverted sex?
Is abnormal the new black?

EA Monroe said...

Not only sex, but fear, especially considering the times in which we live these days. I get enough fearmongering on the nightly news (and politicians). I imagine there will be a whiplash/opposite effect soon, when people have had enough of fear governing their lives and crave something more imaginative and pleasant for entertainment.

MissWrite said...

You know, you just gave me fuel for a post E.A. I don't know why I haven't done it already since it's a common irk for me. Thanks, and hugs.

Gabriele C. said...

I don't bother to watch trends. I can only write the books I want to write, and if they don't sell, there is nothing I can do about it.

No chick lit written from the POV of a Imperial Roman society girl from me, sorry, I can't write the tone of that genre and I don't care about society girls. Even Roman ones. :)

Bernita said...

I'm interested in them as a sort of social reflection, Gabriele, and as a rough indication as to a book's edge or chance, but I would not ( likely could not) write TO a trend.
Chick lit tone at its best is witty and dry, but I can find that tone in other genres - without the subject focus that does not appeal to me either.

kmfrontain said...

I'm like Gabriele, can't write what sells, only write what I got in me. If it sells, well fine.

Weird sex, Bernita? I suppose it sells for those totally fed up with the typical of regular 'everything' in a novel. Adding weird sex is like make a character wear multi-coloured socks with individual toes. It makes the story stand out a wee bit more...if that was the author's intent. In my case, I like exploring the mysterious lanes where the river goes underground. There's a lot on the surface, but more hiding beneath the city streets. At this point, I can't write anything 'regular' for the life of me. I can't get into the characters, the story, the plot. I've read too much of it all. I was digesting romance novels by the age of eleven -- historicals, contemporary, western, fantasy, sci fi, war. Just like I can't write fan fiction, I can't write something that I've read too much of. I never had enough of good fantasy. My parent's house was filled with romance novels for the most part. But I had enough of fantasy to want to take old ideas in a new direction. Sex is one direction.

And Roman chick lit? Ew! If it were written accurately, we'd get another dose of near Harlequin in which women are always wrong and the man always right. Even if he's not.

Bernita said...

At least you explore it, Karen, rather than tossing it in for sheer shock value.

EA Monroe said...

Thanks, MissWrite! I'll be sure to come and visit you!

I'm off in my own "alternate-reality" world with my writing, too. I like a mixed up bag of genre and the freedom to imagine/write without genre constraints.

It's damn hard creating metaphors specific to writing for an alternate-reality world -- probably like imagining new metaphors for Romans or other historical eras.

Mysterious lanes are the best ones to travel! My kind of roads!

MissWrite said...

Visit tomorrow EA, today's post is already done, and I have hard enough time coming up with posts without wasting a good idea on a second in a day. LOL :) Thanks again.

Sam said...

Books literature and fads - I suppose there will always be fads, but it's harder to move a fad in and out of literature because readers get hooked on a certain type of books and want More.
Well, I won't mind Too much if regency novels go tip-toeing out of fashion. (lol)

Rick said...

kmfrontain -

Roman chick lit? Ew! If it were written accurately, we'd get another dose of near Harlequin in which women are always wrong and the man always right. Even if he's not.

I disagree with this one! Sure, female inferiority was the received ideology in Rome, as in most traditional societies, but I suspect there has usually been a private dialogue among women, starting with the premise that men are otnae ootae ightbrae.

In Rome it occasionally leaked out too, or at least the men were aware of it. One Roman said "the law has wisely given women very little power, since nature has given them so much."

kmfrontain said...

LOL Cute Rick. Yes, we women have power. I'll admit it.

MissWrite said...

LOL Ric--silly boy, we don't have to resort to such things as pig latin. Besides, men would be all too quick to pick up on that. Spelling it out, usually works. ;)

Bernita said...

Must admit, Sam, that to me, many regencies seem pale immitations of Heyer.
What I resent is the automatic definition of "historical romance" as a regency.
I can see the fascination with the period, viz. Austen,(have read several in an entertaining mystery series w/Jane Austen as a detective) as well as the opportunity to elaborate on clothing, viz. chick lit.

"Spelling it out usually works..."
Rick, you've been tilted.

M.E Ellis said...

I'm also hoping paranormals are selling, otherwise Garou Moon was a waste of time.

Still, it was an 'experience' writing that one.

LOL

:o)

Bernita said...

I imagine they are still hot, Michelle.