On Chocolate and Market Saturation.

I wrote this before my move. I was waiting to read it over with a clearer head and edit it, but it looks like that won’t happen, so I’m just going to hit “publish” as is.

– –

So, when I was in junior high I developed a novel set in another world with political upheaval and dragon-shifting.  I decided at the time that, though I was studying things like the American Revolution and the Civil War,  I didn’t know enough about how these things worked to be able to write the book.  So I didn’t.  Well, then I found The Last Dragonlord by Joanne Bertin.  She wrote the book I’d been trying to write–but better.  I shelved my book.

Then my freshman year of high school in 2001 I started seriously writing in the paranormal genre. This was back in the day when there WAS no paranormal genre.  I am serious.  Search your memories, it did not exist. These books got shelved in horror, if it got written at all. Or sometimes in fantasy. (I remember because the Horror section freaked me out just walking over to it, but that’s where I had to look, so.)  Now it takes up 90% of genre shelves.  So, anyway. My character, nicknamed “Halfling” , had two souls. A demon hiding in the body of a half-vampire.  The half-vampire had a history of getting herself in trouble.  The demon just didn’t want her own apocalyptic troubles to find her.  So there was a lot of action involved, and also romance.

So when Stephenie Meyer wrote The Host and proclaimed it was the first romance where the love triangle took place in two bodies not three I just rolled my eyes because I’d already done it.  But then mentally kicked myself because that reaction didn’t matter. She’d published, I hadn’t.

Then before I left for Armenia, I started writing a Rapunzel retelling for a class assignment. (Only to discover Disney was working on their own and wrung my hands, knowing I would have this internal debate forever after).   And when I returned from Armenia and now that I’m working on it again and its prequel, I’ve discovered that the market is now steeped in witches and gods-related works as well.

So today (not the first time) I am sitting back and going “huh, now what?”

I’m one of those people who needs, craves variety.  Once something has been done already, I go on to the next thing. Like too much chocolate on my tastebuds. Now I need, want, crave vanilla. Or strawberry. Or, y’know, cherry.

For example, the problem with the paranormal market right now is that, though I love paranormal stories…I just can’t handle the intense market saturation.  To me it’s like going to an ice cream shoppe and finding that every offered flavor is some variable of chocolate. It makes me want to gag. Or just walk across the street to the sandwich shop and skip sugar altogether.  Granted, I like chocolate. But I like it the same way I like paranormal: I want a variety more than I want a staple diet. And I don’t have the patience to taste every flavor to find the gourmet among the cheap imitation brands.

No, I don’t think I’m being hypocritical here. I like paranormal, wrote in it, and I buy it–but in small doses.  And though I love to write it and frequently do amongst friends, I can never bring myself to novelize or seek publication for it.

So the way I do it is this: if my taste buds are over-saturated with chocolate, I’m going to be searching for–and writing–vanilla.

I want to write my witches & gods world novels, (there are two).  But with the increasing trends heading that direction, I am definitely feeling the drowning/overwhelming feeling that makes me despair more than prods me to write.   But this keeps happening.   I start something, and then cultural zeitgeist takes over and the faster writers win the market share.  Well, OTHERSIDE is still semi-unique. And apparently no one has written anything remotely close to the historical fiction I want to write. I’ve been searching everywhere and asking experts for help in searching.  (Though who knows by the time I finish them :p)

So, back to my question about my current work-in-progress.  So, what do I do?

My answer seems to be: finish this.  Ignore anything, everything else.  Finish it. The way you’d want to write it. Then decide what to do.  But the question keeps coming up: Is this worth it?  To me? To anyone else?

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4 responses to “On Chocolate and Market Saturation.

  • Niki Smith

    Did you ever read Tanya Huff? I believe http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/175300.No_Quarter had a love triangle in two bodies, but it’s been years since I read it so I could be wrong!

    I don’t think you have to worry about what’s out now when writing. A book may take a year or two to write, a year to query agents, a year to find a publisher, a year or two before it’s out in *print*… so the saturation you notice now will be long gone.

    You’re right, though. Finish it! That’s what’s most important.

    • Laura

      No, I haven’t read any Tanya Huff, but she’s a big name and I should probably one day! hehe.

      That’s very true. The industry is slow and I shouldn’t really be thinking too hard about publication at this point. But it’s hard to keep wanting to write it when it doesn’t feel like I have much to offer.

      Still! Just gotta finish, do it my way, see what happens in the process. Don’t overthink this. XD

  • M

    Hey man, it’s very much worth it to me. I’ve been waiting aaaages to read these books! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your style and voice and just your way of constructing a story are so different than anything else I’ve ever come across, you could write teen vampire romance and still have it feel unique. It’s important to know what’s up in the market, for sure, but don’t let it step on your dreams. It’s talent and that spark of Interesting that will get you read, not just being the only book of it’s kind!

    • Laura

      Very true. Thanks for always being so encouraging. ❤

      I owe it to you to finish, as well. And, yeah, I guess to myself. (*snorts* And to the characters. They wouldn't like it much if I just gave up.) Thanks. ❤

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