Friday, March 23, 2012

Looking at trends: Books to Screen

I was at a conference last autumn where an editor said that by the time a book trend makes it down to picture books, it's over in YA and MG. One example of this is the vampire trend - it had its day in YA with TWILIGHT, and now that you can pick up a few cute vampire picture books, YA has moved on to Dystopian and Sci-Fi.

So, I'm wondering what you all think of the trend patterns of books-to-screen. Does having a book serialized in a TV show extend the trend? Or maybe it highlights a coming trend? Or maybe it heralds the coming end of a trend? Is there any correlation at all?

There are a lot of modern takes on fairy tales making it onto the screen out there these days: on TV we have Grimm on Friday nights on NBC and Once Upon a Time on Sunday nights on ABC, and later this year we'll be treated to not one, but TWO different takes on Snow White in movie theatres across North America. This comes after a slew of movies offering their own spin on Little Red Riding Hood, the brothers Grimm, and all things fairy tale.

And of course, there's the dystopian trend we've all been hearing has been saturated. We have The Hunger Games coming out this weekend: will this jumpstart another wave of demand for dystopia?

So, what does it mean? Is it the beginning for these types of stories? The end? Or somewhere in the middle? While it's true that writing to a trend is a foolhardy proposition, for those of us with a manuscript or two in a drawer, it might be worth thinking about.


  1. Personally, I think books-to-screen extends the trend. It opens the genres up to those who were previously unaware of them. I know I'd never once considered picking up a ya vampire (or paranormal) book until I saw Twilight. It may have been the end of the trend for readers who'd already been saturating themselves in it for the past few months, but for me (and I imagine plenty of others) it was just the beginning.

  2. You've already said it, but you can't write to satisfy a trend. You'll end up writing stories you don't care about and the trend will have shifted elsewhere by the time your book comes out. The trick is to figure out what it is that you are supposed to write. After writing five novels I think I was always supposed to write a blog.

  3. I think producers are looking for good books to make into movies so that trend will continue. Hunger Games will probably result in other similar movies trying to jump on the bandwagon. But like Stephen said, by the time we finish our stories, the trend will be over so I think we should just write what we're drawn to write.

  4. I think it probably extends the trends in some ways. But for aspiring authors, it's still useless to write to it! :)

  5. There do seem to be a lot of fairy tales hitting the screen these days, but I wouldn't classify fairy tell retellings as a trend in literature. I think the reason these types of stories are always around is because they tap into something dark and archetypal and fundamental that's always relevant. That's why I like to read them, anyway!