Scholastic Names Trends in Children's Books for 2010
1. The expanding Young Adult audience
2. The year of dystopian fiction
3. Mythology-based fantasy (Percy Jackson followed by series like The Kane Chronicles, Lost Heroes of Olympus and Goddess Girls)
4. Multimedia series (The 39 Clues, Skeleton Creek, The Search for WondLa)
5. A focus on popular characters - from all media
6. The return to humor
7. The rise of the diary and journal format (The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries, The Popularity Papers, and Big Nate)
8. Special-needs protagonists
9. Paranormal romance beyond vampires (Linger, Beautiful Creatures, Immortal, and Prophesy of the Sisters)
I recently incorporated a couple items on the list--use of a journal, and a paranormal element--to the manuscript I'm revising. The results have surprised and delighted me.
The manuscript isn't written journal format. Rather, I'm incorporating a specialized journal, more like an object, that moves through the story and enables the main character's internal conflict to be visible. It was a Eureka! Moment when I thought of it.
The ghost element is newer, and one that I think will work, but am not entirely sure yet. The ghost also mirrors the protagonist's internal conflict, but more specifically as Crystal's egoic addiction. Whenever she makes an attempt to change or transform, the ego shows up--the ghost--which Crystal is finally powerful enough to overcome in the end.
If you're writing for the Middle Grade or Young Adult market, do you see your manuscript fitting somewhere in these trends? Do you write with an eye for popularity and sales? Are you more interested in literary quality and possibly awards? Or are you interested in a little of both?
I lean toward literary. Over the past couple of years, critique partners have compared my voice and style to Laurie Halse Anderson and Karen Cushman. Should I one day find myself in their company, I would be deeply, deeply honored.
What is your writing style? I'd love to hear from you!