Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Rise and Fall of the Dystopian Market

There has been a lot of postulating amongst writers lately about the rise and eventual fall of the dystopian market.  I've seen writers talking about shelving half –finished projects for fear that the dystopian market has hit a plateau, while some are just delving in, refusing to be a slave to writing trends.  Others are calling for more sci-fi, less soldier-based works that walk the narrow line of possibility.

This topic is of particular interest to me as several of my writer friends are currently neck deep in dystopian projects.   No doubt the publishing market is insanely competitive, and your manuscript has to be original in order to stand out from the rest of the slush pile, but that's nothing new.    YA Contemporary, Dystopian, Paranormal, Sci-fi . . . no matter what your poison, your WIP needs to be utterly amazing to get the official nod.

So I guess what I am asking is do you think the dystopian market has reached it’s peak? Is the genre so inundated with one particular set of themes that editors are screaming for something original? Maybe the day of the post-war, children-revolting-against-government-control market is saturated, opening the gate for those who write more speculative based dystopian fiction.

Thoughts?

17 comments:

  1. I understand not wanting to write a book in a genre that people are sick of...but you have to write for yourself before you can write for others. Fantasy took a nose dive a few years ago, but I still wrote a fantasy novel. Sometimes you just have to write the story that needs to be written. Um...does that make sense?

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  2. Such a great post and right in line with what I've been thinking. I'm working on a dystopian...except that it's not really dystopian. I'm not actually sure what it is, which gives me hope that there is still potential that this particular project could one day be published. I think...mostly.

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  3. LOL. Sorry, but I know you would think it was funny. The word verification for my comment was 'effers'. Awesome.

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  4. This is something I worry about. I'm neck-deep in revisions on a YA dystopian book. Part of me wants to shelve it because I'm afraid agents and editors are tired of them, but I'll keep on because I love the story so much.

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  5. There will always be a place for speculative futuristic fiction. Will the general reading public seek it out? Not sure, but the age old "just write a good story" comes to mind. :)

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  6. There will always be trends and they will always rise and fall. Demitria said it best. Write for yourself first. If your dystopia falls flat right now give it a couple of years. It will be back on top. Finish what you've started. At least you can have the feeling of completing something awesome. As far as originality goes, every story has already been told. You just have to put your unique spin and take on it.

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  7. I feel like there are so many elements in the dystopian genre that instead of it plummeting, it'll really just (hopefully) expand, or become more detailed. Look at the differences amongst all the dystopian out there already, how some authors focus on the establishment or the society, or maybe the land or environmental factors... look at The Chrysalids (not exactly "dystopian" as we understand it today, but definitely has elements of it) and then look at The Hunger Games. Completely different books from the same root. I don't think dystopian's over, or on its way to being over. To reiterate what EJ's saying, there's always going to be a place for every genre.

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  8. There is always room for awesome, no matter what the genre.

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  9. I think it's going to show negatively in your writing if your novel was written only because the genre was popular. Agents won't be fooled and neither will readers. If it's a story and characters you really love and believe in and would write whether or not the trend is popular, then I think there will be a place for it. Great writing shows and there's always room for great stories no matter the genre!

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  10. I love dystopian, I hope it's around to stay. It should be about good writing not popular trends.

    Nikki

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  11. Hi fellow crusader, I love dystopian and hope it's here to stay. If an idea is original, it would seem to have a chance at publication.

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  12. I agree with PK. It's all about a great story. As writers, we should write what we want.

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  13. I believe that it will be around for a long time. I try to stay positive. :D

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  14. I'm certainly not tired of dystopian yet, but oh if only anyone could tell which way the market will trend! I've heard agents say that not even vampires are out completely - if it's an original enough take on vampires - so I'm sure the same is true with dystopia.

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  15. Maybe I'm just saying this because I'll soon be writing query letters for MY dystopian novel...BUT, I feel that it doesn't really matter what genre you're writing, as long as you have a fresh perspective. If you give readers something they've never thought about before, show them a land they never beleived they existed, make them question things about themselves, give them characters to grow with and fall in love with, then your book will not only be something worth reading but something that will sell.

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  16. hi fellow crusader popped into say hi - different groups but was attracted in by dystopian - when i wrote my first I wanted it just to be called a book but everyone wants a label- after months of searching and discarding titles I have settled on dystopian but mine is I think more hopeful than some I have read - I think the danger is that the same story lines are followed - it isn't the genre as such - after dystopian covers a huge range from animal farm to hunger games with so many in between - the trick is to write a book you enjoy and not emulate anyone else - have a passion for your characters and really thin k through the world created - good reaches the top eventualy (not necessarily best selling lists - I mean favourite in peoples lives)

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