Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for Xavier Roberts

And for (the great) X

My baby had "Xavier Roberts" tattooed on her left butt cheek. I didn't like it at all and seeing the strange signature on her ass almost made me cry, like the stork had saddled me with a damaged kid. I'd waited literally years for my parents to be able to afford a Cabbage Patch Doll, while my friends racked up the trendy dolls like extra pac man lives at the arcade. One friend had over fifteen of them, some still suffocating in their cardboard and plastic boxes, stored in the attic.

My Cabbage Patch doll had another deformity. She was French, or French-Canadian. All her birth documents were in french. I couldn't read the frigging thing and though it might have lent me some exotic credibility with my friends, it didn't. To say I was a disappointed pre-teen would be an understatement. I was desolate (or, as my dolly would say, Je suis desole) and that was one the moment, maybe the last moment, I ever bought into a trend.

I'm not saying I never bought something trendy again. For crissakes you can find a pair of (tasteful, mind) jeggings in my dresser as we speak. But I tried hard not to believe the hype again. If I was going to follow a trend I was going to do it knowing I was one of hundreds of lemmings getting ready to happily jump off the ledge.

Which is why it's such a surprise to me that I've ended up writing a YA book. Somehow, without meaning to, I wrote a in a genre that is hot right now. We have a friend who writes children's books, young kid stuff, picture books. They're great and fun, but what he really wants to do is direct, er, I mean write YA. It's not because he's got a YA story burning in his gut. It's because he's been told that's where the gold is.

Does that make him mercenary, smart or just normal? I don't know. I have the luxury of not being important at all. I don't have a publisher, editor, agent waiting for me to do the next thing. I can write whatever I want and simultaneously believe that I live in a vacuum where nothing I do will ever go anywhere and that one day someone will want to be my publisher, editor and agent.

This is a long-assed way of asking. Do you, in your heart of hearts, follow trends? Try to follow trends? Believe trends are real, important drivers in publishing? I know, I know, write what's important to you, the story that speaks to you, don't write what you think is trendy, yada yada. But what do you REALLY think?


  1. I'm not a trend follower in my writing. Agents and editors always say they are looking for well written stories. I think writing to the trends isn't the best idea because by the time it is written, edited and finds an agent the trend might be over.

  2. I try not to bother about trends either way, following them or rejecting them. Just because something is a trend doesn't mean it has no merit. I judge whether or not I like something on the thing its self and not on who else likes it or is doing it. If I happen to enjoy a particular trend, then I'll jump on board for my own reasons.

    I think it's only worthwhile to write to trends if you're going to self publish. Then you can get it written and out there very quickly. If you're going with traditional publishing chances are, as the previous commenter said, it'll be over before you can get the book in print. Also a lot of agents and editors tend to say things like "oh I'm so tired of seeing [trend]" when the readers themselves aren't tired of it yet and want more.

  3. I still have my Cabbage Patch Kid! (well my mom has him back at her house) this post made me smile just thinking of all the fun times I had with him

  4. I'm a bit jealous Xavier could meet my cabbies before me. And he signed they butts as they were his.


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