September 26, 2020, 03:56:51 PM

Author Topic: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy  (Read 7866 times)

Offline Raptori

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Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2015, 01:55:49 PM »
To be brutally honest, I feel that attempting to write a book to fit in with a certain trend is a bit of a dangerous game. As already mentioned in the replies above, the book you're writing and planning now won't be out for at least a year, and more likely 2 years - and that's if you get an agent and/or a publishing deal straight away. In that time, the current fashions can change a great deal, particularly if you have a certain book come along that changes the market for everyone in drastic ways.

I can't help thinking you're better off writing what you want to write, and what you want to read - that love for your subject matter will come through in your writing, and that's got a better chance of selling your book than what was fashionable two years ago. Agents and publishers do keep an eye on the market and what's popular, of course they do, but what they really want is an amazing book.
I kinda assumed that this was all a given, but I guess it's good to point it out! Aiming to write books that capitalise on trends is the last thing you should do. I think it's still useful to analyse and try to extrapolate trends just to see how the collective tastes of the reading public are progressing over time, even if it shouldn't be a significant factor in choosing what to write :)
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Offline DRMarvello

Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2015, 05:57:35 PM »
Many fantasy authors are writing to current trends and doing fabulously at it. Of course, most of them are self-published and produce several titles a year, so they have the necessary agility.

I don't write that fast, and I'm not a fan of the current trends anyway, so I'm happy to plod along and write the kind of stories I like to read. Fortunately, I don't have to earn a living at this.
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Offline Yora

Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2015, 06:30:38 PM »
The huge successes are always those writers who write something unusual that starts a new trend.  :D
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2015, 10:56:53 PM »
The other thing about writing something you like and would want to read is that you enjoy it, and that makes the writing flow better and actually shows through. I once heard a publisher's representative actively encourage aspiring authors to do that, because the odds are that if you like it then someone else will, and once you get someone to champion your work, the job is made that much easier.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Roxxsmom

Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2015, 03:12:17 AM »

Interesting interpretation of "high fantasy". I always took it to mean fantasy with an epic scope, so the likes of LOTR and most of Sanderson's work are firmly within that genre. According to that definition ASOIAF is supposedly a mixture of high fantasy and other genres, with the high fantasy more of a backdrop, but as I haven't read them I can't really say for sure  :P



Now my take on "high fantasy" is fantasy with central themes related to good versus evil, a somewhat elevated narrative tone (no modern profanity, for instance), sympathetic characters generally noble in character, and stakes taht are higher than just personal (though not necessarily epic). And at least some of the "traditional" fantasy elements are also present, whether it be dragons, elves, magic, knights, quasi-medieval setting and so on.A novel can be both high fantasy and epic fantasy, but it was my understanding that the two terms are not interchangeable.

Offline jefGoelz

Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2015, 04:39:53 AM »
there are probably multiple definitions, but Wiki's is pretty good, imo:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fantasy

Offline Shadowhand

Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2015, 05:07:11 AM »
I'd echo the mantra "write what you like," as I've heard it numerous times from authors (Paul Kemp, R.A. Salvatore,  to name a couple off the top of my head). I did recently read a blog from Kristin Nelson, a literary agent who does accept fantasy, and she recommended being able to show an awareness of where your novel fit in the current market when you query agents:
  • List other titles that would be comparable to yours.
  • Add a line that readers who enjoyed X title, Y title, and Z title would also like your story.
  • Clearly designate your novel’s correct genre or type of work.
Read the full blog for more explanation and reasons why this is a good idea.
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Offline Raptori

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Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2015, 06:53:47 AM »
Now my take on "high fantasy" is fantasy with central themes related to good versus evil, a somewhat elevated narrative tone (no modern profanity, for instance), sympathetic characters generally noble in character, and stakes taht are higher than just personal (though not necessarily epic). And at least some of the "traditional" fantasy elements are also present, whether it be dragons, elves, magic, knights, quasi-medieval setting and so on.A novel can be both high fantasy and epic fantasy, but it was my understanding that the two terms are not interchangeable.
Yeah that sounds pretty similar to what I was thinking. Especially high and epic being different categories that can sometimes be combined, which makes it confusing when people use the terms interchangeably.  ???

I'd echo the mantra "write what you like," as I've heard it numerous times from authors (Paul Kemp, R.A. Salvatore,  to name a couple off the top of my head). I did recently read a blog from Kristin Nelson, a literary agent who does accept fantasy, and she recommended being able to show an awareness of where your novel fit in the current market when you query agents:
  • List other titles that would be comparable to yours.
  • Add a line that readers who enjoyed X title, Y title, and Z title would also like your story.
  • Clearly designate your novel’s correct genre or type of work.
Read the full blog for more explanation and reasons why this is a good idea.
Slight problem with the first two bullet points is that if your premise is very unusual (or a unique mix of more common tropes) then the comparable titles thing could be a bit misleading. I guess you could list novels with similar tone, but even that could be misleading as well. Defining the correct genre is clearly important though  :)
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Offline Elfy

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Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2015, 11:44:39 PM »
I don't totally agree with comparing your work to other successful published work, in fact I've seen agents request that people don't compare their work with well known concepts as it sets a false expectation. On the other hand you do need to know what the genre is. Not much point in sending a steampunk to an agent that generally handles high fantasy. Being able to correctly define the genre also helps when it comes time to market the work.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline Shadowhand

Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2015, 03:20:39 AM »
As Kristin Nelson explained in her blog, there are two different ways to compare your novel to another published work. One is to say the writing is of the same quality as (or better than) [insert well-known author]. This is a quick path to rejection.

The other is to demonstrate a knowledge of what is currently in the marketplace and how the setting, conflict, themes, or characters of your novel might compare or contrast. For example, you might mention how your high fantasy novel features violent political intrigue in the same vein as Song of Fire and Ice.
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Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2015, 03:57:00 AM »
For my current novel I'm querying, I simply say that it should appeal to fans of Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks. I'm not making any claims that I'm as good as they are, just that I think readers who enjoy their stuff have a good chance of enjoying mine as well.

Offline jefGoelz

Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2015, 12:43:22 AM »
For my current novel I'm querying, I simply say that it should appeal to fans of Brandon Sanderson and Brent Weeks.
I'm wondering what you see similar in Sanderson and Weeks.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2015, 12:30:45 AM »
Have you read Weeks's Lightbringer series? It's very much like a Sanderson story, just grittier. There's a big focus on the magic of the world, with a well-defined magic system, which is one of the major characteristics of the novel I'm querying. Even the Night Angel trilogy, despite its grittier nature, has a general plot that reminds me of Sanderson.

Sanderson and Weeks both tell action-packed, high-magic stories with epic plots where the fate of the world is often at stake. And they both do it with characters who tend toward the heroic, though they can still be deeply flawed.

Offline silvijanus

Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2015, 01:22:35 PM »
Recent years we have all these financial crisis and issues, analytics are like superstar sharing their wisdom and predictions about loans, debts etc.  So... can "Financial fantasy" be the next big thing? :D

Offline JMack

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Re: Trends in Contemporary Fantasy
« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2015, 01:58:45 PM »
Recent years we have all these financial crisis and issues, analytics are like superstar sharing their wisdom and predictions about loans, debts etc.  So... can "Financial fantasy" be the next big thing? :D
You mean "Trickledown economics"?  ;D
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