6 Comments

Write what you love

I’ve always laughed when people say that Speculative Fiction won’t sell in the Christian market. If they mean it doesn’t sell in Christian bookstores, I get that. Very few people go looking for Speculative Fiction in a Christian bookstore. However, tons of Christians I know read Speculative stories. And I don’t think I need to say how much everyone else in the world enjoys them. Sci-Fi or Fantasy films dominate the charts for highest grossing movies. Alongside the usual suspects, there is always at least one Speculative novel on the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Sci-Fi and Fantasy are booming genre’s. The problem is that it seems to trend toward certain sub-genres. Vampires boomed in the first decade of the new millennium. Zombies have been trending, and now it looks like witches are the hot topic. OZ: The Great and Powerful, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and Beautiful Creatures are three movies about witches that come out this year. Fairy Tales also seem big right now. Either way, all of these trend more along the lines of Supernatural Fantasy. They revolve around supernatural creatures.

Dystopian also seems hot right now, trending more towards the Sci-Fi angle.

And, of course, almost all these stories have a YA flavor to them.

So, where does that leave a writer of medieval sword and shield fantasy like me? Some have recommended taking the YA route for my characters since editors are craving YA right now. Some have said to present it as YA even though my characters are twenty-somethings in all my stories. I could try that. I’m open to anything that will help me get the stories in my head into the hands of readers.

hugging books

But ultimately, I don’t think my writing will be the best it can be unless I’m writing what I love. I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to my reading tastes. I like 300,000 word epic tales set in fantastical worlds filled with kings, knights, pirates, and dragons. That sub-genre had its hay day in the 80’s and early 90’s. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t succeed today. There’s still plenty of readers who crave the same kind of tale, as proven by many best-selling fantasy authors.

Personally, I don’t care for zombies or witches. I really dislike vampires. But to each their own. I can agonize over an agent telling me that no one is buying medieval fantasy, or I can work with everything in me to write amazing stories. Following genre trends usually doesn’t work. Writing awesome stories usually does :)

So, if you’re not getting a lot of bites on your stories right now, keep at it. Write better. Write more. Eventually the pendulum will swing back to your sub-genre, and you just might be the one to start the new wave.

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About Will Ramirez

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God's Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the the last 17 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his coming debut novel, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning. He lives in Central Florida with his bride of seventeen years and their four children. Since 2010, he's been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team of Word Weavers of Orlando. He is currently working on the second book of the Godslayer series as well as The Unspoken, book one of a dark fantasy trilogy. In the land of Adme, powerful beings rule as deities and compete with one another for followers. But when a young priest is revealed as the prophesied godslayer, the pantheon unites to destroy him.

6 comments on “Write what you love

  1. If it helps any, I personally prefer medieval fantasy to the other sub-genres. SciFi is even better. ;) my thinking is, if they don’t bite now, maybe by the time your book is polished it will be in style, and if it isn’t, maybe your book will help usher it in. :) yep, I like crazy hopes.

  2. I like medieval fantasy too. I’m currently in the throes of trying to upload a book set in a medieval period on another world to Create Space. It isn’t 300,000 words long. I was trying for something that would theoretically be publishable in print! But, between this book and the two following, there should be at least that many words.

  3. I was just reading about how there’s a cycle for every genre’s popularity. What “sizzles” today “fizzles” tomorrow. And medieval fantasy will always have a niche. Look at Game of Thrones or long-haul series, like Wheel of Time.

  4. I love medieval fantasy! Keep at it! If it’s well-written, you will always have a fan base.

  5. There’s definitely still a huge base of fans who want that kind of material. The final Wheel of Time book comes out tomorrow, yet they aren’t releasing it in e-book format until April. While I don’t agree with that move, I think it speaks to the fact that they know people will go out and buy the hardcover/paperback anyway because they want to read it so badly.

  6. Over at Lateral Action, Mark McGuinness came up with my new favorite quote: “If you’re doing anything creative, the joy of work is one of the purest and most powerful motivations you can have. It’s also one of your surest guarantors of producing great work.”

    I don’t think I could find joy in my work if I were chasing trends.

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