Trends in YA

I want to talk a bit about trends in books. My novel is about reincarnation, which when I started writing was a very rarely seen concept in fiction- which is why I wrote it. In recent years, however, it has become a lot more common.

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It’s a bit frustrating, that something I wrote thinking was unique and original is instead becoming what might be the latest trend. I imagine a lot of writers felt the same way about their dystopian works in progress when the Hunger Games and Divergent became popular, or vampire novels when Twilight was the Big Thing.

When I first started writing I panicked a lot about whether someone was going to beat me to it, write my book first and better. But I’ve become a lot calmer recently (although research for this post did make me hyperventilate a bit. There are so many).

I’m calmer not only because I have a publisher, and my book is definitely going to be published whether it ends up being passé or done before ten times over. Because I’ve come to realise that trends aren’t always a bad thing. People read what they like, and all these other reincarnation books are building up a potential audience of reincarnation fans for me to steal. Maybe they’ll read mine because the other books they’ve read didn’t quite hit the spot the way they liked (the ending of Cloud Atlas left me desperate to know why and needing more, for example), or maybe they just wanted to relive the same kind of story afresh (pun intended).

Either way, the ‘reincarnation’ buzzword can only be a good thing when trying to find a place for my novel. If reincarnation brings good book memories to mind- which with great novels like Life after Life around, it hopefully will- then people are more likely to pick up a copy of mine and give it a chance.

There will, of course, be some people who are bored with the idea, but the people who enjoyed the ‘trope’ of reincarnation will far outweigh this number (I hope).

And even if an idea has been done before, that doesn’t mean that when the right book comes along, it can’t sweep people off their feet. There were hundreds of books before The One wizard/vampire/dystopia book came along. But which one do people immediately think of? I’m not saying my book is going to be that book, but…I don’t need to worry just yet about it. Probably.

It also makes it quite hard to think of titles….all the good ones are taken!

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the twice Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series, as well as the dyslexia-friendly novella The Starlight Watchmaker and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.  She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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