What’s Hot?

Several of us just returned from the Los Angeles SCBWI conference. It was a good time, as always, and packed with information. So what did they have to say about speculative fiction? Here are a few tidbits from talks I attended:

Fantasy and paranormal romance are still popular genres. You don’t see much hard sci-fi, but subgenres like dystopia, genetic engineering (Maximum Ride) and steampunk are strong.

Genre fiction lends itself well to series, but it’s safer to write a standalone with the potential for sequels.

Trends trickle down. If vampires and dystopia are big in teen books, they may hit middle grade next.

Alternate histories (Leviathan) are “cool” according to one Scholastic editor. He also mentioned how one author looked at what her son was reading — Western fiction, sea life nonfiction, and either Avengers or Animorphs, I didn’t quite catch which — and combined them into an underwater Western with superpowers, called Dark Life.

What genre mixup would you like to see? (Of course, if you are a writer, you may want to keep this secret for your own use. Or not, if you are just being silly, which is always good too.)

Chris Eboch with Haunted books

Chris Eboch is getting to work on her dystopian steampunk paranormal vampire romance middle grade novel.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “What’s Hot?

  1. I just realized that I saw you at the conference but I couldn’t figure out where I knew you from so I never went up and said hi. Now I wish I had! *sigh*

    The conference was great. And I can’t wait to read your dystopian steampunk paranormal vampire romance middle grade novel. That should be a treat!

  2. Natalie Aguirre

    Thanks for sharing about the conference. I would have loved to go. Good to hear that fantasy is still popular.

  3. Jan

    Boys love action so mash-up action with any genre and they love it. It’s the magic phrase when I booktalk – lots of action.

    Alternative histories are cool but I really question how they go over with pre and young teen readers. Frankly they don’t know the world history yet to understand how the book is an “alternate” history. I enjoyed Leviathan but my kids don’t know anything yet about that era in European history. Kids don’t study recent European history until high school. I just finished Nick of Time which is a rousing old-fashioned time travel story but American kids don’t know who Lord Nelson is.

    This is also part of the problem I have in explaining steampunk to my students. They don’t understand what the Victorian Age is yet. I usually try to talk to them about Verne or Wells movies they might have seen. Does anyone have a good definition for steampunk that works with younger readers?

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