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?