Friday, October 11, 2013

Nobody Knows

About five years ago at a writing conference, I attended a workshop led by an editor from a major publishing house. His focus was on fantasy and science fiction. During the question and answer period, someone asked him what the next craze would be after vampires died out. (not that they every die, right?)

The editor laughed, pretended to look into a crystal ball and predicted zombies. He completely didn't mean it, but his educated guess was right. Who could have known that the TV series, The Walking Dead, would be such a hit? How about World War Z? Zombie books are everywhere.

I'm sure no one predicted the vampire rage five years before it stormed into our lives. And the Game of Thrones TV show is certainly helping elevate that genre also. Who could have predicted that?

No one. Nobody knows what the next craze might be. Fairy tale characters because of the TV show, Once Upon a Time? Heroic teams of crime fighters like the Agents of Shield? If you write books relative to the 'next big thing' your career could be ready to sky rocket. But no one knows what it is, so you have to just write the story that speaks to you. Write your thing as best as you can without trying to catch a trend.

Two years ago I started writing a dragon series for the epic fantasy market. First Dragon is coming out shortly. I never thought about The Hobbit when I wrote that first book, but I'm really, really hoping that Smaug will inspire readers to want more dragon in their lives.

What is the next big thing in your opinion? Are you looking forward to the next installment of The Hobbit? Do you think vampires have run their course?


  1. We don't know, so we just have to write what we write. And yes, looking forward to the next Hobbit movie!

  2. Trends are unpredictable. I agree with Alex - write the story you want to read.
    Can't wait for the next Hobbit movie, though I need to catch up on the first.

  3. When I attended my first conference 5 years ago, we were told the paranormal - vampires were out, and mysteries were on their way out. Apparently, they were wrong, but I think my surprise is the fairy tales and where they're going. So far I haven't found a series that I like, except for Grimm. Zombies I hate, they give me nightmares, but I do enjoy The Walking Dead, even though I can't watch it.

    Dragons have to be the next big thing!

  4. I have no clue what the next - I'm kind of hoping it will be historical/romance/time travel/mystery, since that's what I've got coming out next year. That way I can write the sequel I have in mind :)

  5. First... I am not sure the vampire thing will ever die. People have been fascinated since Dracula. Anne Rice's books/movie were extremely successful. I am willing to bet that she gets new readers all of the time, despite the fact that her books are now "old." Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel were huge hits way before Twilight. The Vampire Diaries is still going strong and the CW has spun off a new show called The Originals.

    I am not into zombies, but I think that the same might be true there. People are fascinated with the Supernatural.

    And Superheroes. Look at how well all superhero movies are doing at the box office. Smallville was my favorite show for ten years. I really like the CW's Arrow (about The Green Arrow) and they have a new one called The Tomorrow People. Of course, Agents of SHIELD is doing well, too.

    All of that said, I think you are right. If you write the story in your heart and mind, you are doing the write thing!

  6. I have no idea what will be the next big thing. I am kind of hoping something a little bit more cute like fairy's, unicorns, or Mermaids. I loved what Karen Amanda hooper did with tangled tides.
    I guess it's a case of wait and see but I love the mythical creature thing and there are so many amazing mythical beings to choose from that I think Fantasy writers really have a lot to play with.

  7. Wizards and magic, zombies, vampires, super heroes, fairy tales, edgy sex, science fiction-- it's hard to guess where the next twist may come from. But something will come along and ignite readers' imagination and be the next hot thing, until the next hot thing. I like Alex's advice: write your heart. Who knows, it could be it!

  8. I definitely think vampires have run their course, but then I never did enjoy the Twilight craze in the first place. It's fun to think about what the next big thing might be. That editor is right-- nobody knows until it is upon us. I just saw World War Z last night-- most terrifying movie ever!