Monday, March 7, 2011

Zombies are the New Vampires

Zombies are the new vampires. And someday, fallen angels will be the new zombies. 

I learned so much from the Big Sur Children's Writing Workshop in Monterey, CA. Getting peer feedback in the workshops, chatting with faculty advisers and mingling with children's book agents from the Andrea Brown Literary Agency marked my rigorous and stimulating weekend. The event was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel Seaside/Monterey. The hotel was very guest-friendly- perks included complimentary breakfasts, complimentary drinks during the evening cocktail hour (woo-hoo!), and the indoor heated pool and jacuzzi. 

On the last day of the workshop, a panel of the workshop's children's book agents answered participant questions. A gentleman asked about the story cliches the agents came across the most. Here are some responses:

-Kids moving
-A kid sent to live somewhere on a farm
-Teen car accidents
-Stories beginning on the first day of school
-Magical relics
-Love triangles
-Romeo and Juliet-type stories
-Waking up from a dream
-The quest for the relic, the pendant, the ring, and the portal
-The prophecy kid

Very useful to know. The agents were quick to note that the topics listed above can still work and make great stories, but the writer should be able to bring something fresh to the "cliche" so the story doesn't become a cliche. One agent says she made a six-figure deal selling a story involving a teen car accident.  

Another audience member asked about how the rise of digital publishing will affect the children's publishing industry. Andrea Brown reassured us aspiring children's book authors by asserting that children's books are here to stay in spite of occasional cyclical changes in the market. Also very useful to know. 


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