Friday, September 4, 2009

Researching Current Writing Trends

Every now and then, I take the time to pick up current books out there to do some research. No, this is not to see the type of plots people are choosing. I take the time to see if the style has changed in a particular publishing house. To be a successful writer, it is crucial that you do this every now and then to insure that your writing isn't stuck in a time period that has been left in the dust.

Sometimes I get submissions from writers that were successful in the 80's and early 90's. For some reason, they stepped away from the business and now are trying to jump back in. Although their writing is great, it is like picking up outdated books. The voice is just not that of the present day. Why? The writer didn't go back and see HOW the writing was working today.

One publisher I work with loves stories that move fast. Now, when I say this to an author, they hype it up with action for the characters. When I revisit the "style" of that house, I see what the publishers are describing. In one case, I read the first two chapters and all we gained, in terms of information, was the hero finding out he acquired a piece of property and a ward. That was it! So how did we get 20 plus pages of material? It was all dialogue. There was no backstory, no scene building, nothing. I went back and examined the material even further and found that the paragraphs were descriptions of the action the character was doing. This was a change from the last time I read this author's work.

Now, this might just be a coincidence, but it may be a trend. When you stumble across things like this, it is crucial to pick up a couple of other books by A) the same author; and B) by other writers with the same editor. See if there is a pattern.

I have to stress, that I am not saying to "copy" other writers, but to learn from these writers. I am also not saying that what the authors are doing is either good or bad. It just happens to be the way it is.

Research is important. Read a book, not for pleasure but for dissection purposes. See what you can discover.

Oh, and one other thing. Pick some of those newer authors. The established authors often have enough of a following to allow them to violate some of the rules.


No comments:

Post a Comment