Monday, October 15, 2012

Hey girl, I just met you and this is fifty shades of gangnam style, but here's ALL MY THINGS so Skype me maybe? (Why I don't write to trends)


Like zombies? There's a genre for that. Like snogging? There's a genre for that too. Whatever your pleasure, there are books for you out there. I bet you can come up with five vampire books, five dystopian books, and five faerie books off the top of your head. Angels, witches, demons, elves, shape-shifters, WHATEVER-- they're everywhere in YA. 

Here's the thing; I don't like going with the hive mind when I write. I don't want my book to be the next Harry Potter or the next Twilight. I don't want it to be compared to The Hunger Games or Beautiful Creatures. I want to write something completely different-- something that bucks the trend and stands out from everything else. 

It's not just about being fresh and unique. I don't want the interest in my book to wax and wane with the trend. I've heard so many agents say dystopian is done. What you see on the shelves is a year or two behind what's being written now. If you write a story about vampires to piggyback on the finale of the hugely successful Twilight saga, it won't be out until after Breaking Dawn 2's audience has moved on to something else. 

My advice is write what you want and write it now. That's what I'm doing. I don't know what the next big thing will be and I don't care. I mean, sure, I'll read it and probably love it but it's not like the stock market-- I'm not trying to get on board with an idea so I can be riding that wave when it crests. Write your own thing. Make your own wave. Write for yourself and no one else.

What's my book about, you ask? It's a different take on parallel lives. A teenage girl shares an extraordinary genetic bond with her grandma, who died forty years ago in a barn fire. Maggie looks, talks, and thinks just like her grandma, right down to the tiny details like her favorite foods and taste in clothes. One summer, a chain of events begins-- a chain frighteningly similar to the one that ended in her grandma's death. Maggie knows what's coming and she's scared to death.

Another WIP is the story of a girl's quest for boobs; The Saline Solution. E has five months to earn enough money for a new set of twins in time for prom but going public with her fundraiser puts her at odds with everyone she loves. E's stuck between her friends and a C-cup. 

And then there's REM. I've been playing with this one since I was fifteen-- no lie. Justin and his friends fool around with an OTC sleep aid, REM, that all the kids are using for fun at parties. That night, in his dreams, he meets Angie and suddenly they're running for their lives. While Justin wakes up from the dream, Angie doesn't remember the last time she woke up. The sleep aid's ripped from the market and The Agency starts showing up at Justin's school. Everyone thinks Justin's losing it. The only way Justin can be with Angie is by taking REM but the more he takes, the harder it is to stay awake. He's determined to find Angie and prove she really exists before he stops waking up altogether but, the closer he gets, the more he believes she's just a dream.

I hope no one can name five other books like mine. If they can, I'm going to be sorely disappointed. 

Now I'm going to totally ignore my own advice and follow a trend-- pumpkin mania. These cookies are soft and tender and remind me of pumpkin muffin tops. Mini chocolate chips are perfect for studding the cookies with tiny nuggets of cacao but you can leave them out or add chopped walnuts or something lame like that. I'll stick with chocolate, thank you.

Trendy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 egg
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp milk
1 T vanilla
2 cups mini chocolate chips.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, and egg until blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture until just moistened. Dissolve baking soda in milk in a small container and add to cookie dough with vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir until just combined. 

Scoop cookie dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets (I use a 1/4c ice cream scoop) and bake at 350 degrees for about ten minutes or until just set. The cookies won't spread much at all so you don't have to space them far apart. Overcooking these makes them tough and dry-- keep an eye on them.

Enjoy!