Cyclical Seasons, Desperate Writers

The golden days of autumn are rather bare and brown this year.  Poor trees baked in summer heat and an autumn drought. Most of them are sulking by refusing to don their gaudy autumn gowns and just dumping their leaves overnight  So I’m staring out my office window at drab colors and early twilight and long to follow the geese south for winter.

In other words—the current WIP stinks like a three-day-dead mackerel, and I need a new idea to make me smile and reach for my reference shelf.  Books are so much more exciting when they’re merely a gleam in my eye. Unfortunately, the current ideas gallivanting wildly through my brain are completely inappropriate, so I have to put a lid on them. That’s an unfortunate side effect of hating the current WIP—my brain wants to run as far as possible from the world I’m working on.

So my thought of the day is to wonder if the current paranormal craze is a result of readers wanting to escape as far from the present reality as possible.  And then I wonder why we don’t escape to the world of the Wild Wild West or Renaissance Italy  instead of into evil underworlds and demons. John Wayne justice and Medici poisoning work as escapist fantasy better than vampires as far as I’m concerned. So, what does it take to make a cycle turn?  (I know, wheels, let’s not get smart now!)

Like the seasons, media entertainment—and I mean TV, movies, YouTube, and whatever else is out there along with books—follows a cycle.  And I assume those cycles are equally affected by droughts and freezes, or deaths and strikes.  Right now we’re being inundated in paranormal fiction in books, superheroes on TV and movies, and if reality TV isn’t as close to abnormal as it gets, I don’t know what is.  Could the economy affect the media? I can see it now—Desperate Housewives have their homes on Wisteria Lane foreclosed and move to Desperation Straits where they sit around in housecoats and drink weak coffee and plot to rob Wal-Mart.  Told you my brain is gallivanting recklessly!

So where do you think the cycle will turn next? What will be the next big book phase— Reality Romance? Will television get into historical fiction?  Anyone with a crystal ball who understands what turns media wheels?  And if you don’t have a crystal ball, what would YOU like to see next on TV or in books?  Buffy the Vampire Slayer Dances with the Stars?




Cyclical Seasons, Desperate Writers — 5 Comments

  1. There are definitely cycles, though if I could successfully predict what was coming next, I wouldn’t be toiling here at five a.m. with a recalcitrant ms that will be yet another midlister, I’d be up in town feted by Hollywood’s best!

  2. The main argument against trying to pick a gravy train and hop on, is that writing and publication is slow. By the time you write a novel capitalizing on the latest trend, it has gone by. (I will admit that this paranormal thing has gone on longer than anybody thought it would.)
    I like Steve Jobs’ advice best. He didn’t do market research, because he didn’t want to chase after what the customer wanted. He wanted to make what the customer doesn’t know he wants yet. he wanted to get ahead of the curve.

  3. Agreed on all points. I’ve always liked elements of paranormal but I tended to push when the cycle was down and go the other way when the cycle was hot. Doesn’t work as well as buying stocks when they’re down! I think maybe some people are simply more attuned to the cultural evolution.

  4. I agree with Brenda. And to be honest, the whole “writing for such-and-such a market” notion is something that runs contrary to what writing is al about for me. If I don’t feel comfortable with what I’m doing, there’s no point in my doing it. If the only objective is to sell big and be the next Dan Brown, I’d be better off getting a job on Wall Street and retiring in 5 years’ time.