Is This the Next Big Thing?
Last month the NSW Writer’s Centre asked a few authors, myself included, what we thought the next big thing might be for YA and children’s books. At the time I hazarded a guess that maybe it would be ghosts, as vampires had already had their moment in the sun and zombies had been finally laid to rest. Awful puns I know but I’m keeping them because that’s about as good as it gets for me!
I wish someone would ask me again because my future-telling skills have surged and I think I am a lot closer to the mark now. It struck me recently that somewhere along the line I had stopped thinking ‘this book would make a great movie’ and moved on to ‘this book would make a great game.’ I think we are going to see a spike in books with gaming plots. After all, Assassin’s Creed, the game, has already spawned a book. The flip side is the obvious move. I’m not talking about Zac Power style action (although they are still excellent reads), I’m talking about the harder stuff. First person shooter. Mutants. Lots of weapons. Etc. Etc. The violence would need to be adjusted for the audience age.
During the recent debate about the Australian censorship of Left for Dead 2, a fact emerged that suprised me. The average gamer is in his twenties – not a teenage boy! So there’s an enormous market out there – for both YA and middle grade – of readers who would prefer to play games first and read second. No points for guessing what they would like to read.
Just after this epiphany hit me, Monster Republic
arrived on my desk. It’s a sci-fantasy for upper primary to younger teens and it’s almost what I was thinking of. Not quite – the gaming plotline isn’t strong enough to qualify (it is however an excellent book for boys in that age range). The cover however is a bullseye. It could be a game disk.
So am I going to write the gamer book? Probably not – it’s not where I want to be. I could do it though. I have spent the last ten years watching all manner of games evolving, reading instructions for #2 son, installing programs and marvelling at the DVD cover work.
And that’s another thing, the gamer book covers are going to be something spectacular.