Friday, January 12, 2007

Random Thoughts

It seems like all I have to do these days is think. Well, think, agonize, and obsess. But I've had a lot of things on my mind.

One of the first is that, as of yesterday, I have some time to do some true pleasure writing. Don't get me wrong, I almost always love to write and this last round of revisions was really fun because I got to write two completely new scenes that were absolutely incredible. (I've been asking myself for days why they didn't get put in there in the first place.:)) But with revisions in, I sat down and wrote a new scene in my YA project. That was fun. I love writing the first draft. When I was visiting with Stephanie a couple of weeks ago we talked about how you really have to love writing that first draft or else you'll never be able to carry yourself through all the work involved in making it truly shine. But that first draft? That's just fun.:)

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about the current fantasy market--for obvious reasons.:) I feel like there is a shift occurring in the fantasy market--at least in the classic sword and sorcerer market. Think about the big writers these days. Who springs to mind? Robert Jordan, Terry Goodkind, George R.R. Martin. Throw in Tad Williams; I believe he has another book due out sometime soon. On top of that, we need to count J.K. Rowling. What do all these authors have in common? They are all winding down their big series. Last Harry Potter Book comes out this year, George R.R. I believe has two, I can't remember if Terry Goodkind has one or two left, and Robert Jordan has one. George R.R. is moving into the YA genre, and Robert Jordan is stepping down. Terry Goodkind has never done anything except the Sword of Truth series so I don't know what his plans are now. But there is a huge chunk of the market that is going to be up for grabs.

People that I think are in the running: Neil Gaiman. His books are not really the same sub-genre as the authors I've listed above, but among the same readers, he is becoming very popular. (and rightly so!) Novik . . . Novik, what's her first name? She write "His Majesty's Dragon." I have heard nothing but fabulous things from editors, agents, and readers about these books. But again, not quite the same sub-genre. Keep an eye out for Jim Hines, in my opinion. Humorous books about goblins. His first is out and his second is due . . . soon, I believe.

But who is up and coming in the classic sword and sorcerer genre? I've noticed both online and in bookstores that I don't see a lot. Is that because the genre is dying? Do readers not want this stuff anymore? I think the sales numbers for "Knife of Dreams" and "Phantom" would put a pretty good-sized dent in that argument. I personally think that you are going to see some excellent talent rise to the top in the next three to five years.

Now don't read too much into this; I'm not saying it's me. But it makes me optimistic. There is room at the top. Doesn't mean there's room for me. But no matter what, I predict that we will see some fresh new voices roar to the top of the lists as some of the mighty giants take a seat.

And I think that's exciting.

Ciao!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

terry goodkind has only one left. it comes out this year

Maprilynne said...

Okay, that's what I thought. But some niggling itch in my mind said he had two left.

Thanks,

Maprilynne

fat larry said...

I'm ma fantasy geek but I think there is a lot of great new stuff coming, and IMO a lot of it seems to be influenced by some older fantasy writers not on your list, like Gene Wolfe. I love R Scott Bakker. Although his Prince of Nothing series is at an end, there will be others. Tad Williams just started a new one, second book comes out this year, that is great.

As for YA, I think there are a ton of writers going strong, ones like Farmer and Colfer. And I think this genre is really opening the door to new things, thanks Harry.

J M McDermott said...

Hi, I'm here to answer to your question.

Sword and sorcery is growing up in two directions. You mentioned one side with Jim Hines' Goblin Quest books. This side leans towards Terry Pratchett. This material tends to be lighter, happier, and fun. One could not imagine a Terry Pratchett book with a tragic ending.

The other side is the dramatic side (like Robert Jordan). That's where I come in. My side will be drama leaning heavily on magical realism.

(Cory Doctorow and Neil Gaiman write books on both sides, and rely heavily on magical realism)

Two fantastic examples of fantasy's dramatic future which you don't mention are "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town" by Cory Doctorow, and my book, "Last Dragon" out in April 2008.