Let’s talk about… teenage assassin nuns?

Publisher’s Weekly recently posted an article about how the trends in YA lit are not just love stories or fantasies or paranormal circumstances… but all of the above, mashed into one book.

Example, mentioned in the article, from the agent who pitched Robin LaFevers’ “Grave Mercy”: “medieval historical thriller featuring teenage assassin nuns.”

She DOES look like a badass, doesn’t she?

The problem with reading articles like this (even though I find them interesting and it’s good to know what’s on trend) is that my inner monster immediately starts roaring.

“ROAR! Your plot isn’t that complicated!”

“ROAR! Your characters aren’t that dynamic!”

“ROAR! Your story isn’t a mash-up of really big ideas so you’re never going to get an agent or book deal!”


Now, I’m beyond actually listening to the monster to the point of giving up, so that’s not a major issue. I know there are readers of all kinds of books out there, and some will find the books mentioned in this article too far-out for them. (Some readers left comments on the article saying as much, which was a nice little confirmation.)

The issue, mainly, is that these lit trends come and go and there are probably a lot of writers who submit the wrong things at the wrong times and get dismissed. It’s just like everything else, really — you get lucky, or you don’t. What a bummer.

OR, what a challenge!

I’ve also read articles in which agents and publishers say that all the bells and whistles, all the social media marketing on the author’s part, all the trendiness of the subject matter in the submission… none of that matters if the writing sucks and the story falls flat. It has to be GOOD before it can be anything else. [Insert your own metaphor about foundation/substance/order of events here.]

I’m not saying the book about teenage assassin nuns isn’t good. It got published, right? All I’m saying is, I’m taking my time making my not-that-mashed-up story as good as I can. Then, hopefully, I’ll get lucky.


3 thoughts on “Let’s talk about… teenage assassin nuns?

  1. well for one thing – you have done something smart in testing your novel with a reader that is in your target audience, so you need not rely on any one article’s implications. it’s how it is received in the real world that matters more than anything else.

    also, i think that as the writer, you are your own worst critic and you may not think that it meets all the mash up criteria but it actually does. I havent even read it (rude), but just with what i know about it thus far, i could check off all the things you mentioned at the start of your post.

    so anyway… you rule, others drool; do your best and forget the rest; reach for the stars; good things come to those who work for them (and sometimes the work includes the wait…) and plenty of other cliche’s that sound really silly but are still valid points. =)

    love ya 😉

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