The cultural zeitgeist by Rhys A Jones
Though I have resisted posting about writing, the closer I come to a publication date, (OCTOBER) the more I’m drawn to what’s happening out the in the blogger-sphere. So on Sundays, I’m now posting on what’s interested me as a trawling MG author.
Today I’m picking up on a post by lit agent Kristin Nelson on her Pub rant blog where she talks about riding the cultural zeitgeist. Check it out here;
Interesting stuff like–
“I was out to lunch with a children’s editor yesterday and for him, he had suddenly started seeing a ton of submissions that were what he called “man vs machine a la Terminator-style.”
The implication being that either some of us writers have been influenced by something and decide to write that ‘type’ of story which, on a lag period of maybe a year or two, suddenly start appearing in submissions. This begs the larger question of why we write what we write. Are we zeitgeist driven? Did we all watch Terminator 2 on damp holiday week-end? the truth is that I asked a hundred authors why they wrote a particular genre or type of story, there’d be a hundred different answers.
Obviously, if someone is fickle enough to want to write another ‘orphan is a chosen one wizard’ story that isn’t fan fiction, it’s unlikely to get on anyone’s slush pile. But there is another way of looking at this. I would hazard a guess that some may have had a WIP on the go for a long time and Kirstin is the first to admit that;
“…there is something percolating in the cultural zeitgeist where any number of totally different authors who don’t know each other will have eerily similar story ideas for their novels.”
Maybe there is something in the ether, a flavour of muse that leaks out of our PCs at a given time and titillates us into thinking the same sort of thoughts. Or, it’s all hogwash and stuff happens, gedoverit. Since everyone in the world believes they have a novel in them, some similarities are bound to occur when we sit down and splurge our thoughts onto the page.
The trouble is we’re damned if we do—too similar to everything else, and damned if we don’t—no one wants another dystopian now, thanks. I think you just have to write from the heart, the story you want to read for yourself. Maybe, after ten novels, you might decide to go the zeitgeist route, or, your publisher might commission a Willy Wonka meets Godzilla, because they’re both in the news.
But that way lies madness, agreed?