One of the biggest challenges I face as an aspiring kid lit author is writing something that is ahead of the trends. So when I see themes in what my critique partners and writer friends are working on, it's like a neon sign:
5 Themes I keep seeing
(in random order):
1. Paranormal Romance
From Vampires and Zombies to Ghosts and Aliens, everyone is falling in love while struggling to overcome their own supernatural gifts and personalities. Some editors are still eating it up, while others would frankly like to see more humans being attracted to their own kind.
2. Mind Reading and Mind Control
This theme is popping up a lot in various forms and I have to confess to a work-in-progress with this in it. Twice. Maybe three times. What I don't see is many books on the market with this theme, so if you have a polished manuscript, submit it quick!
3. Schools and Summer Camps
Secret campuses, summer school and crazy camps are always popular among middle-grade books, but this theme might be getting a bit overused. I know a good part of a kid's life is spent in school, but isn't there anything else worth writing about?
4. Books About Bullies
I think most people are tired of hearing how to handle bullies from stories. The definition has been changed so much since I was kid, that I don't think I could write a convincing story about it anyway. If you have something to add to the onslaught, then more power to you. But I'm going to avoid if I can.
5. Apocalyptic Dystopian
I wrote a dystopian short story in college, but I never tried to get it published, for good reason. It was awful. I won't even tell you what it was about because you'll get the wrong idea. Now, I know this genre is huge right now, but when I sit down to write, I can't help but ask: "Is our future really that bleak?"
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)