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