What’s In/What’s Out for YA Fiction in 2012

Posted Dec 31 2011, 8:00 am in , , , , , ,

With just days left in the 2011 calendar, many of us use this time to plan for the coming year. We make resolutions. We declutter and organize closets, desks, and offices. We buy clothes. We start diets or exercise plans. It’s a time when our hope is renewed.

For me, this is a time of outrageous excitement. 2012 is the year my book comes out. (Pause for screaming!) I’m planning blog contests, ARC giveaways, and all the other stuff ‘real authors’ do to promote their work. (Holy cr@p!)

This time of year is also a time when everyone starts analyzing trends. What’s in? What’s out? I thought it would be fun to do an In/Out list for YA fiction.

What’s In?

I did a quick Google search and found a lot on the topic. For example, according to USA Today, mermaids are the next big supernatural being, and according to agent Laura Rennert’s submission requirements, sci-fi elements incorporated in traditional YA paranormal, fantasy and contemporary stories catch her eye. Other experts say steampunk – emphasis on the –punk – is going to explode; still others cite MG Horror – yes, HORROR – as the next Big Thing. Finally, the success of the Game of Thrones series suggests epic fantasy is going to lead the pack. I even found one source that claimed graphic novels will surge in popularity.

What’s Out?

Vampires are out, according to most of the editor sites I visited – unless, of course, the hook and the voice are so unique to put a completely new spin on this old trope. Likewise, Mean Girl stories are over-done, as are werewolves, zombies, and the hot-supernatural-guy-in-love-with-ordinary-human-girl plot. Mandy Hubbard reports that most editors think dystopian interest is slipping.

What’s the Point?

I adore vampire fiction. I also love historicals. Oh, and I enjoy paranormals. But I’ve never written those genres. My voice is strongest in YA contemporary stories. I do, however, have plans for a contemporary YA trilogy with strong paranormal elements that I plan to start this summer. For me, the characters dictate their stories. My MC in this trilogy is a teen who lost his dad and little brother to a house fire some years earlier. He’s mired in grief and struggling to accept his mother’s second marriage – to his dad’s best friend, no less. When his girlfriend suggests all the strange things happening to him are from his dad’s ghost, even he doesn’t believe it and he’s the one being haunted. I’m insanely excited to see how he handles his disbelief and so, I will write my first paranormal.

I think the most important thing you can do is write your story, the way your story wants to be told. If that happens to make the most of an emerging trend, congratulations! If not, I say don’t sweat it.

Happy New Year and Happy Writing!

What do you think is over-done? Not done enough? Let’s compare notes! 


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