Liars Club

Trendy Tales

by Simmons on October 18, 2010

in Advice for Writers,The Writing Life,The Writing Process

Time once again for a new Burning Question about writing and publishing. Check in often to see how we Liars respond. To see past answers to other Burning Questions, click on our For Writers page.  And if you would like to pose a Burning Question for our group of authors to ponder and post about, just shoot us an email or post a comment, and we’ll be happy to consider it!

Burning Question #12: How do market trends/fads affect your writing?

Liar Kelly Simmons kicks this one off…

Conventional wisdom says that by the time you’ve identified a trend, it’s over.

(In other words, when the moms start saying, “I’m down with that,” the kids have already moved on.)

But that’s not to say you can’t be inspired and act – if it fits for you, if it rings true.  For instance, I have never, ever, considered writing a vampire novel, no matter how popular they are.  Not because they’re “over” – but because they’re not for me.   But the continued success of memoirs over the last few years has helped justify my continuing contributions to my own memoir, which will be done . . . eventually.

And when my family recently started an experiment in food shopping and meal planning, I decided to blog about it.  Would I have done that if I hadn’t read a bunch of food blogs that I thought I could improve upon?  Probably not.

My advice on buying into trends is the same as my advice on buying stock.  Diversify.  Don’t put all your writing eggs in the same popular basket – unless you are deeply deeply certain, and willing to take the risk.

Kelly Simmons is the author of Standing Still (Simon & Schuster) and coming in February, The Bird House. Learn more at


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gerri George October 18, 2010 at 9:06 am

Although as a writer of literary and mainstream, I also read cross-genre to what I write. It was the movies made from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy that sent me to his books. Maybe it was actor Noomi Rapace’s iconic intensity as Lisbeth Salander (due, no doubt, to good direction as well as talent) that impaled me to the idea of such a strong female protagonist. Could this character become a fad? And will I increasingly be drawn to it? I don’t know, but I do know that this protagonist absolutely wowed me. I was breathless watching her performance and experienced same reading her scenes in the books. Only time will tell to what extent the late Larsson has influenced me as a writer, but fad or no, strong female characters will always have a place in my fiction.

Kelly Simmons October 18, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Oh Gerri, I agree that the character of Lisbeth is incredible — writing strong characters is never a fad. (Although I’m sure others will try to duplicate other elements of Larsson’s fiction — and they will be missing the point.)

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