That's really freaking stupid.
Okay, it's important to be knowledgeable about the business, sure. But I think I had more success in letting the best-sellers write what they wanted, and just sticking to writing what I wanted. It was way more fun, too.
That was my one rule when I first started: I would write the kind of book that Teen Me wanted to read. I'm lucky in the fact that Teen Me and Me are actually quite similar, as I still don't consider myself a full-fledged master of adulthood. The book Teen Me wanted to read, coincidentally, is nowhere near what is popular these days, for these reasons:
- It was somewhat short. I remember finishing up a LONG day of homework, and the first thing I wanted to do was sit down with a book. But I also loved the feeling of satisfaction I got from finishing a book, especially when I could do it in one sitting. I didn't want overly complicated. I didn't want massive subplots. I wanted a nice little story, and . . .
- It had a beginning, middle, and definite end. No cliffhanger endings. No sequels. When it ended, I got to work in my head where it went. I didn't have to wait and agonize for the next part. And also . . .
- That ending . . . it was happy. What can I say... when I was a teen and my life was full of so much trauma, I liked happy. And I liked happy endings. Mostly because
- I had a very goofy side, and liked to laugh. My books had to have a little dose of goofy in it. I'm a goofy person. I don't do angst really well. Writing serious scenes is hard for me because I am so tempted to throw in a stupid joke, to lighten the mood.
- It wasn't about vampires, or witches, or anything else that's been "done" before.
If you'll notice, loooong, angst-ridden series seem to be in these days. That's what's popular. Or at least, that's what the gatekeepers, the ones who talk to teens and say, "This is what you'd like," would have us think.
But I don't think all teens like that. I know that Teen Me would have one word for what's popular these days: Ew.
So I am going to keep focusing on writing the book that I want to read. If it's not popular, that's okay. At least I know that Teen Me would read it, and she would be proud.