I am writing this particular post today for three reasons: First, it's Friday and that's the day when the fewest people seem to read/respond to blogs (I don't take it personally, really I don't) so I can just pad out the week with something light; Second, tonight Mighty Reader and I are going to go see the new "Harry Potter" film (which is nearly three hours long, for gosh sakes, meaning MR and I will get home around 2:00 AM and we are therefore very brave HP fans); Third, I've noticed something in my trolling of query letter sites and I must ask about it.
A lot of people seem to be writing the same book. Or, I should say, the same couple of books. I get around, you know, and read a lot of writers' blogs and see a lot of queries for books people have written, and there seem to be two premises that crop up a lot:
1. Sort of downtrodden youngster discovers he/she has magical powers, enters world where he/she learns to use said powers, and must then battle Ultimate Evil.
2. Sort of shoe-gazey young girl, feeling isolated, meets handsome mysterious male who turns out to be paranormal evil person, who tempts girl to dark side (usually because she has paranormal powers she doesn't know about, and handsome evil boy wants to steal her paranormal energy).
3. There's also a third premise I see a lot that I just remembered, where young protagonist (usually female) discovers she has magical or otherwise unearthly powers and either a) must choose between the life of a close relative (sister or mother in most cases) and her own life as a superhuman powergrrl, or b) must use her superhuman powergrrl powers to save her close relative.
So we have, essentially, Harry Potter and Twilight and Superman (or maybe Wolverine in a Hello Kitty t-shirt) as premises that are being used A Lot Around Here.
So what's the deal? Are people deliberately trying to be the next Rowling or Meyers or whomever (I don't know, maybe Neil Gaiman on the last one), or are these just the sorts of stories that YA and MG readers like, and we write what we read and it's all just that "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" are the sorts of stories we want to read more of?
I'm not complaining or saying any of this is bad. Personally, I think premise is the least part of storytelling, as long as the premise and the story are solid and compelling; it's how you tell it that matters most to me. But I am asking. Why are these the stories a great lot of writers are choosing to tell now? If this is you, dear reader, what's up? Spill it.