So, this keeps happening...

34 Calls for Submissions in January 2020 - Paying markets

Hardback covers.... yum

Status
Not open for further replies.

Lex Black

Full Member
Narrator
Aug 6, 2014
Heya, Litopia.

So, today I was reading yet another writing advice column, this one "Don't submit these types of short stories if you want to get published." Alongside entries about not submitting overtly bigoted work and similar points, the writer stated that zombie stories are played out and no one wants them.

This gave me pause, as the MS I had on the back burner for years and finally started work on for this year's NaNoWriMo has zombies as a major component.

Now, granted, this list specifically talked about short stories, not full novels. Still, it's enough to give me pause, given that this keeps happening to me. Not too long ago I saw a similar bit of advice about how vampires are no longer "in" and you're better off not wasting your time on them. No writing about zombies or vampires? What's the point of living, then? (Pause, wait for laughter)

Granted, there's more to the story than just zombies. It's a period piece about how a psychic monster hunter deals with trauma and prejudice in a small town being subjected to both the mentioned plague of undead and a larger evil. (For those familiar with my work, yes, it features George. Three of him, in fact, something I've been excited about getting to do.) Still, if all it takes is the zed word to prejudice an agent or editor against me, I worry, especially since the past twenty years heavily suggests agents and editors are already biased against me*.

What do you think, folks? Am I wasting my time on this, just because of the current climate? I know about the ebb and flow of popular subjects, no one knows what's going to work out and be popular, etc. But...I really don't need to spend six months on another novel that does nothing but collect rejections for decades afterward. Am I better off just moving on to one of my other outlines, even though I was really excited to finally get to work on this one? Am I likely saving myself more frustration and heartbreak in the long run?

*Our own @AgentPete excepted, of course. He's so patient with me I wonder if I remind him of a lost relative or something.
 
That's a hard one. I'm going to default to a traditional author's take (because there's just so much, it's quicker to listen than reading):

 
Yeah, I like her work. :)

I guess all I can do is write the damned thing and toss it on a shelf.
 
What do you think, folks? Am I wasting my time on this, just because of the current climate? I know about the ebb and flow of popular subjects, no one knows what's going to work out and be popular, etc. But...I really don't need to spend six months on another novel that does nothing but collect rejections for decades afterward. Am I better off just moving on to one of my other outlines, even though I was really excited to finally get to work on this one? Am I likely saving myself more frustration and heartbreak in the long run?

Tropes (and certain genres) go in and out of fashion and as a writer, while it's useful to have a handle on it, you need to write your inspiration, whether someone else thinks it's "in" or not. Because of the time lag between a novel being drafted, re-drafted (etc.) then submitted, who's to say that the zombie stories won't be back in again by the time you're ready to send your story out?

Another approach is to reframe the out-of-fashion trope so it's presented in a different way. For what it's worth, I've just read two successful and critically acclaimed, recently published novels featuring zombie-type characters. And that's the key. They're not zombies in the classic way, the author has twisted things around to give a fresh take on the re-animated dead. And that's the thing. Dystopian YA (to take another seemingly "out" genre) may be out of favour at the moment, but I bet it won't be long before someone comes up with a fresh angle which propels the genre back up the bestseller lists.

Write what's interesting to you, irrespective of current literary fashions, try to avoid falling into well-trodden pathways and see where you are when your novel is finished.

More power to your elbow, Lex :)
 
Last edited:
The House With Chicken Legs and The Girl Who Speaks Bear both by Sophie Anderson.

They're MG novels...on the border between magical realism and fantasy (based, to a large extent, on Russian folklore).

Enjoyable reads, both of them. (I may be pushing the zombie comparison, but both novels explore ideas relating to the dead in interesting ways).
 
That first one has got to feature the Baba Yaga, so I'll have to seek it out as well. :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

34 Calls for Submissions in January 2020 - Paying markets

Hardback covers.... yum

Back
Top