Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Trend Labels kill organic instinct

Once I'm told about a trend, I can't ever go back to "unknowing" that it is a trend. And that is extremely frustrating. Why?

Because when I'm writing BEFORE I know about All The Trends, the reasons why I choose to do certain things is organic and instinctive. I can guarantee that to myself. I wrote Legend as a YA before I knew I was writing it as YA. I wrote Legend as a dystopia before I knew that dystopias were The Thing. I wrote Legend with a male 1st person POV before I was told that a 1st person POV is a trend in YA and a male POV is not a trend in YA. So when I'm told that dystopia is a trend, I feel like I've sold out. When I'm told that male POV is NOT a trend, I feel good because I think I'm going against the grain. And then I feel frustrated.

Every time I find out about a trend, I feel something taken away from me.

Because AFTER I know of a trend, I feel like future writing decisions I make are forever influenced by that trend, regardless of which side of the trend I fall on. For example, if I now choose to write something purely from a female's POV, I will always think to myself: am I writing female because it is a trend? Or am I choosing it because that's what I want to write? Am I adding romance between my characters because it is a trend, or because I genuinely see the romance between those characters? Am I writing YA now because it is a trend? My brain becomes this feverish list of trends, no matter how hard I try to "unknow" them.

Male POV = not trend
Female POV = trend
Romance = trend
Ethnic main characters = not trend
1st person POV = trend
3rd person POV = not trend
Present tense = trend
Past tense = not trend
Dystopia = trend
Historical fiction = not trend
Paranormal = trend

This is a bad, bad way for me to think. I want to write an ethnic main character without thinking that I'm choosing it because I want to buck a trend. Once, I could be sure that I chose these things strictly because I wanted to write that way; now I can never be sure. Am I subconsciously influenced forever by knowing of these trends? I greatly dislike that feeling, because it takes away my Organic Instinct.

I want my Organic Instinct back.

I want to be able to write a paranormal story from the 1st person point of view of a gay Chinese girl without hearing all these whispers in my head that say, "You're following a trend! You're breaking a trend! You're following a trend! You're breaking a trend!". I like writing boy POVs. I like writing 1st person POVs. I want to pick what to write without feeling guilt (following trend) or pride (not following trend). I want to pick what to write simply because I want to write it.

So if there's a new trend going around, please don't tell me! I don't want to know that it exists.


Anonymous said...

I can totally relate. I've always been anti-trend. In the end, you just have to go with your gut.

Hettie said...

Finally, someone gets it! I always hate hearing about trends, but it seems like no one wants to let me not hear about them! I agree, just write with your gut.

MAP said...

Trend breakers are all the rage now. So I guess it doesn't matter which way you go. Just close your eyes to the outside world and go for it.

Xavryn said...

Another "non-trend" thing would be gay or bi-sexual protagonists. There never seem to be any of those, especially not in dystopia.