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Posted: March 15, 2012 in Spilled Milk, The Writing Life

So my daughter is all over The Hunger Games, and I’ve spent most of today (when not parenting, working out, working, or writing) thinking about the way trends shift here and there. For a while it was Harry Potter. Then vampires were all the rage (leading many to speculate that the next great teen trend would be more paranormal stuff.). Instead, it turns out dystopian is the latest craze.

Which is even crazier, ’cause I write dystopian. Of course, my dystopian is meant for adults, rather than teens (especially teen girls). I talked it over a bit with my daughter, trying to get a handle on what makes a teen dystopian novel so appealing. She suggested it wasn’t just the sky-is-falling motif, but that there were a few key elements: 1) a malevolent, controlling government, 2) the teens are more virtuous than the adults (who too easily compromise), and 3) a love triangle between the main characters – typically a girl having to choose between two guys.

Mind you, I haven’t done anything with this, largely because a) I have way too much to write already and b) I don’t trust trends to last long enough for me to crank out a book (although I did do Spilled Milk in only seven weeks). But this hasn’t kept me from speculating about whether or not I could start my New World Order series, and give it a spitfire teen female protagonist. I’ve got nine titles in that series, and only the roughest of outlines to work from. All the titles come from Yeats’ poem The Second Coming, which I have reproduced below. I’ve highlighted the titles in bold:

Turning and turning in The Widening Gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things Fall Apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The Blood-Dimmed Tide is loosed, and everywhere
The Ceremony Of Innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely Some Revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The Darkness Drops Again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its [The] Hour Come Round At Last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

So there are the titles in their context. The temptation is to try and produce the first novel quickly, along the lines of what I accomplished with Spilled Milk, perhaps even in first person (as it seems easier to write fast in that POV, even with all its limitations), in hopes of capitalizing on the hunger for more dystopian teen fiction.

I may take a stab at it. I may decide to just let it go. I must admit, however, that I’m a little hungry for something I write to take off at the right moment, but that hasn’t happened yet. And maybe never.


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