You know what the dregs of that party look like.
Bodies, limp and filmed with cooled sweat, lie draped across rugs and couches. Empty bottles clatter against your heels as they roll along ahead of you. The iPod dock is skipping on some rap track -- s-s-s-superman -- and the room is a haze of shadows and snores. As you bend to rub a slackening potato chip between your fingers, the air smells like sex and beer. Further up, it's cigarette smoke and vomit.
Yep, a couple of hours ago, this party was shaking the walls. Now you missed the time when Eric was stuffing bits of vodka-soaked marshmellow into unconscious and drooling Jess's cleavage, using Mikado like chocolate chop-sticks. OMG, it was hilaaaaaarious! Everybody will be talking about it on Monday, but it'll be old news by the time you hear about it. Yours will be the last laugh nobody wanted to have.
As an author, I forever feel like I'm late to the party. It's almost inevitable for at some point; you read a slew of novels following one trend and take elements of inspiration for your next project, only to find that by the time you finish it, the genre has gone stale as far as editors are concerned. The agents you bookmarked six months ago aren't looking for that trend any more, and those who do look at it tell you they're not sure who they'd pitch it to.
I think the only way out of this conundrum is to a) be the one who holds the party ("you know that weird chick, the one with the red hair who likes Haribo floats? She's got a bigger hot tub than Carnage Carl!") and b) make sure it's a frickin' awesome party. (There's also c -- write like the wind and cash in while you can. Since whatever you sell will likely take two years to hit the shelves, mind, I take it you aren't too fond of sleep).
The whole bandwagon thing is weighing heavily on my mind. My newest project is sci-fi dystopian, which is apparently already falling out of favour. Say I'm ready to query around Christmas; will it be fresh enough again to catch somebody's interest? Urban fantasy -- now here's a genre that I think will be sticking around for a while (I am being given buckets of UF to read as an intern. Especially with pyschics. No psychic centaurs yet, but I have my fingers crossed). Does my brain want to write UF? Nooooooo. I can't control the characters who stalk me for months, tapping on my shoulder, whispering in my ear. Some of them get annoyed way sooner than others...what am I meant to say? "Sorry guys -- you're just not hip right now. Give it five years and let me churn out some minotaurs who have their own YouTube band. Internet celebrity Greek beasts are meant to be seriously hot for the summer..."
In the meantime...I'll just have to get me a seriously kick-ass hot tub, invite all the cool kids (plus a few of the strong silent types, since everyone knows they're the most interesting drunks), break out the novelty food and hope for the best.
Haribo float, anyone?