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Let's Take a Peek into the Literary Crystal Ball

Hello, fellow readers and writers, it's 2013. The world hasn't ended, and it won't. Not on our watch.

But what about literary predictions?

I'll take out the crystal ball. Be warned, all of the following is based on loose assumptions, and not all of them should come true--unless I'm really that good.

But I'm not an expert at predictions. Even the greatest economists get it wrong.



NA will surge in popularity

If there's one prediction I can put money on, it will be this: New Adult will become popular, to the point of having public recognition, within the next five, if not three, years.

Major outlets will use the term at least once, and NA novels will get their own shelf in many Barnes & Noble, no matter how small. Although the demographic is still in its infancy, there's no doubt it's going to be a roaring kindergardener sooner or later.

The mer will become the next big paranormals

Although vampires and werewolves will still be successful in their own niches, thanks to the Internet, another fantasy creature will take the spotlight.

I'm more inclined toward mermaids and mermen. I think it's time for merfolk to take the helm, and drag along sirens, kelpies, selkies, and maybe some navel beasts like the kraken.

Hey, they already popped up in Harry Potter, and indies like Tangled Tides and Seaweed seem to hint at the freshness remaining.

Also, the sea is a thematic mine. It's both a whole new world (hello, The Little Mermaid), and a host of tragedy like hurricanes and drowning (good morning, Florence + the Machine). There's also the crossing between sea and land, and vice versa. Plus, merfolk provide a bonus in terms of fan service and subtle steam.

Besides, I don't think people would want to explore the religious angle of angels on a mainstream scale, although I wouldn't be surprised if they turn out to be the next vampires.

Second choice: shapeshifters

Not werewolves, but general shapeshifters. That kind of flexibility might find some appeal, not to mention plenty of metaphors, some of them sexual.

YA covers will have a drastic shift in trend

There's have been an oversaturation of "pretty while girls" on YA covers in the last couple of years, and I think the sheer number of covers existing will soon lead to a severe whiplash from the teenage and adult demographic.

I'll explore this issue in more depth in the future, but in between the pretty model and the same kind of poses, I bet readers will find them too generic and more artistic covers will be favored.

Besides, The Hunger Games and Twilight didn't become successful from displaying their protagonists. Expect more covers like the redesigned one for Shatter Me, and the ones for the Legend series.

Basically, more icons.

The Next Big Thing will appear in the next two years

It's overdue.

Breaking Dawn and The Hunger Games were released just a month apart, just a year after The Deathly Hallows ended its series with an international bang. Mockingjay was released late 2010, and the next big thing in YA hasn't appeared yet.

Maybe because Fifty Shades of Gray gained pop culture status and crowded out less erotic books. Still though, Divergent won't make it into pop culture because its a dystopian, The Fault in Our Stars is too literary and isn't a part of a series, The Moral Instruments won't occupy everyone's minds unless the movie adaptation goes multi-nine figures, and The Lost Hero is a spinoff of a series that already had its time with the parents and the kids.

Also, what happened to The Diary of a Wimpy Kid? Guess it slipped out of the spotlight too.

In 2013 or 2014, one debut novel is bound to step up, sweep the bestseller charts, achieve household name status, and channel the craze of millions of non-readers.

The question is...what genre? What's next in YA?

It won't be dystopian or paranormal romance. If there's one thing about the Big Three (Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games), it's that one they breakout huge, nothing in the same genre is able to surpass them. Same with Fifty Shades of Gray, and The Da Vinci Code, with no erotica or thriller, respectively, earning the public's attention.

Maybe it will be a YA thriller. Maybe it will be a slice-of-life with anime influences. Maybe it'll be a sprawling small-town drama, a la The Casual Vacancy (since that book failed to gain any lasting influence). Maybe it'll be a Sherlock-esque mystery, or even superhero, or a space opera.

Regardless of where it comes from, the power of the Internet is going to amplify its impact. Expect the Next Big Thing to impact every part of the literary world, even if the effect is minor and ignoble.

(You can argue the opposite, saying that the Internet is dividing itself into niches that will stifle the Next Big Thing, but such a book will just scoop up several huge niches at once with its wide appeal.)

Lastly, My Resolution for 2013

Now for the one thing that I can fully control.

I am going to finish a publishable project in 2013. I'm going to do it. It doesn't matter if I go into querying every YA agent in the industry, or enlisting my mom to create the cover for a self-published release. I'm going to get my ticket into the ranks, and I'll truly start the journey to become an author someone will remember for centuries to come.

Is the next Shakespeare too ambitious? Can't hurt trying!

YOUR TURN: What is your prediction for the literary world in the next few years?