States of disgrace

So, I did a little market research into werewolf novels. All I can say is “Whooooo-boy!”

Rape fantasies, glorified rape fantasies, lots of totally non-subtle bestiality hints, lordy, it’s a mess.

So I asked myself “Can I sell a noirish murder mystery in a market that’s super-saturated with sex?”

The answer mostly seems to be “Not unless I am completely in love with the material and willing to fight for it.” And, today, well, today ain’t that day.

I still think it’s an interesting novel, a compelling story, and a good solid book. I’m just feeling more than a little discouraged by the other material that’s out there. It’s like walking into a fantasy bookshop and only finding Gor knockoffs and p0rn. Sure, there are lots of people that like to read that sort of thing, but I don’t want to write it. And writing something else is going to be like walking into the belly of the beast with a torch and poking at the stomach walls. You’re more likely to get digested than to give the monster indigestion.

So, since I’m discouraged and disheartened and generally feeling the “Ugh, where did my sunlight go?” of seasonal malaise, I decided to write something a little less depressing.

I started working on a picture book about a mythological creature that I invented. And then, because that was just too chipper for my mood, I started working on a cheerful little teen novel that starts out with the mother of the protagonist bleeding to death on a couch.

Because sometimes, “less depressing” is a very relative term.

The state of picure books is what I’d kindly call “hyperkinetic” — really, kids can’t have words anymore, just frantic pictures? But I can still feel generally cheerful about the outlook because it IS, after all, for kids. The state of YA is actually fairly healthy, even if the topics are pretty bleak these days. If a book doesn’t have at least one person leaking their life’s blood onto the upholstery, it’s hardly a YA novel anymore.

Werewolf fiction, though . . . oi. It greatly suffers from not having a Dracula to compare it to. Without a trace of a literary ancestry, it’s just completely devolved into pornographic fanfic. Twilight is bad fiction, but I think she was actually aiming for literature (and just coming massively, massively short.) Face it, if a book has a subtitle that explains that, yes, it IS just nonstop animal sex, well . .. you’re not even aiming for the bleachers.

Maybe I’ll feel more thrilled with the notion in another day or two. Until then, I’ll try to finish my new picture book and work some on the YA thing. Taking a break is a good thing, I think, when the spirit is completely unwilling.

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About endurancemom

Writer of fantasy and historical fantasy fiction, mother of 6, former nurse, Catholic convert, wife of 25 years, and general all-around geek. Warning: Do not attempt this at home. View all posts by endurancemom

4 responses to “States of disgrace

  • Monissa

    The UF/PR market seems to be looking for new angles at the moment (or angels even). At last based on what publishers/agents say they’re looking for, and what is appearing on shop shelves 🙂

    Also remember that before the vampire thing too over, mysteries seemed a common part of the UF field so the market was certainly *there* and probably still is. And werewolf fiction has a tradition as long as vampires (maybe longer because their mythology has some actual substance to it.) Maybe nothing as prominent as Dracula, but that was hardly the first one. Werewolf stories just go quietly on being published, unlike flashy vampires. Substance over flash!

    (What is fun, having no actual (sub)genre. And comparison titles? Um, no. You got it easy!)

    • martibooker

      I’ve read some werewolf stuff over the ages (Let’s pretend the Anne Rice thing didn’t happen, but definitely I can think of Stephen King, Jim Butcher, and Patricia Briggs as easy examples.) so, yeah, there’s a history there. And yeah, can definitely sympathize with the “no sub(*genre) thing. Yikes. :/ It’s hard to do anything that isn’t cliche, because it feels like you’re swimming upstream. Some of this post is really just my runaway depressive feelings, too. I WANT to finish this book, it’s just been such a baaaaad week that I’m engaging in a little black/white thinking and splitting, which is fun at times but probably not particularly useful. :/ I know it can be a good book . . . wanted to finish it as an unofficial NaNo book. Probably I will, if my brain can kick back into the correct mode!

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