In response to Samantha's question about writing formulas and trends.

Oh, wouldn't it to be nice to have the formula for the next blockbuster-LOL!
Yes, there are trends-romance and YA have been trending for a awhile. And within those trends there are fads-vampires for instance. And yes, I believe all writing is about emotional response.

There are themes that trend in relation to our societal woes or triumphs. The problem is we often don't recognize the coming trend or fad till we're experiencing it-hence the jumping on the bandwagon mania (which is a studied social phenomenon) the minute something catches fire. I don't consider that greed as much as marketing.

That's what all of you with blogs are doing-jumping on the social media bandwagon. Twitter, Facebook, and the plethora or other social media sites are trending--what's the next big thing in marketing? Who saw Facebook coming?

There are lots of formulas/research for what's on trend in books, fashion, cars, you name it, you can find a ton of studies of them. It's always about fulfilling a human need-the trick is predicting what that need is/or will be. After 9/11 happened we wanted to be comforted or to fight back. What trended in books immediately afterward?

The economy collapses, people lose their pensions, what trended as a result? Hard to predict those events coming but writers responded to it. My second novel has a component of fear based on our reaction to 9/11. Escapism, comfort, control, answers, human seek out narratives that take them away, make them feel better, offer solutions and provide the scenarios in which we can prevail.

What's a writer to do if they want to write a blockbuster? A book that will grab readers, and get them talking, excite them enough to share their enthusiasm with others? You all know the answer to that...write it and they will come. And it will be about emotions and connections, and how it makes us feel. Hahaha! That's part of the formula, the other part is you, your skill at conveying those emotions. The only way to gain skill is to's a vicious circle.

Emotion+Skill+Trend+Marketing=Sales Of course the variable trend could be one that is in place or one you start, like Meyers, or Rowlings.

So, lets say you've done it. You've written something that makes your toes tingle. You can't believe you've written something so good. You are certain it is blockbuster worthy. But your work is only now beginning. Because it takes the will of the writer to not only write it, but push for it, to believe in their work so much that they'll go to any length to get it out there and not give up.

Even if you have an agent, a publicity hound, and publishing house behind you. It has to get into the right people's hands.

Have you ever read Malcolm Gladwell's THE TIPPING POINT. He writes about certain types of people that instigate and initiate pushing a trend or product over the tipping point. Finding those people can push you over the edge, if your book is good enough.

How do you find those people? You play six degrees of separation. Who is hot in technology, fashion, media...etc. You get your book into their hands and it better be the best damn thing you can write because if it's not-you've ruined your chance of ever getting them to read you again. Maybe it's through the mommy circuit, the book clubs,  just get it in there-and light that fire...

Regardless of genre, themes, trends, fads...if it's THAT good, and you find the right market, you'll sell it.

The caveat being not every work is block buster material, not every writer can commit themselves to marketing. And that's okay. I have no illusions of writing a block buster, I just want to share a story, and hope a enough people read it to keep me going. 

As for the Twilight phenom. I haven't read the Twilight series so I asked my expert-15 year old daughter Eva..."It's like a horoscope, so generic anyone can shape it to fit themselves, like the main character Bella is so boring she could be any of us. Not only is their(Bella and Edwards) relationship impossible, it is how every girl's feels about their relationships they're impossible. It targets their (girls') weaknesses and uses them. Bella is supposed to be the outcast-unattractive, but she gets both these hot guys after her. The media makes us think we're supposed to look like Barbie dolls but we don't. So the book makes us feel like we can have that because we are Bella-gangly and awkward too, not Barbies. What's attractive isn't the writing, it's how it made us feel. It isn't the myths, the vampires, it's their emotions we connected with. We connected with Edward in the first book because he cared and we want someone to care about us. But in book two, we want Jacob because Edward is becoming too protective and Jacob is fun and exciting. You can tell a lot about yourself by who you connected with, which team your on. I like Edward because I want someone to care, that's what comes first for me, and that's why Bella liked him, he is comforting to her." Thanks Eva.

I'll interject here-I have seen the movie and I like Jacob because I don't need that coddling caring crap, I want the hot boy with the killer abs. Rowr!!!

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Comment by Valerie Brooks on December 18, 2011 at 10:16pm

Lynne, you nailed it. It's all about how we feel about ourselves and if we can see anything to relate to in the main character. Universal appeal means does the novel have aspects that will appeal to anyone.

And Juliet is so right--quite nice to be older and just enjoy the abs without the drama!

Comment by Juliet Greenwood on December 18, 2011 at 11:46am

Hi Lynne, 

Yes, that is an interesting point about The Tipping Point, which is fascinating. 

Thank you for putting up a teenager's point of view as well! Yes, I can see what is attractive. 

It's one of those occasions it's quite nice to be older and just able to think Rowrrr! Without a wince of angst in sight!


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