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.