• Alyssa Rogan

Stuff I Want to Write About in the Future

There are always bits and pieces of ideas for books floating around my mind. Sometimes it's a name, a place, an atmosphere, or something else. Sometimes a seed of an idea is all you need to write the several thousand words that add up to a novel. That being said, here are some things that might make it into my next book (or the one after).

The mall

Ever since reading Sarah Dessen's That Summer, I've wanted to write a book where the mall is one of the major settings in the book. Dessen's book was written in the mid-nineties, so it makes sense that her characters worked and spent a lot of time there. Even though malls have declined in popularity, I love the mall. It's such a vibe.

Another book set in the twentieth century

Maybe I'll just set that mall book in the nineties (although apparently this author's already done it? Oh well. I'd make my own thing of it). I'm having so much fun with my Teen Boomer Book, it's hard to imagine not writing another one set in the twentieth century. If it's not a nineties book, it's probably going to be a fifties book with Riverdale vibes.

I would also want it to have a strong historical fiction element. The Cold War backdrop is another thing I've really been enjoying about my WIP (work in progress), so I wouldn't be opposed to doing something like that again.

A non-blonde protagonist

I didn't realize this until recently, but the protagonist in all three of my books are blonde girls. This definitely hasn't been a conscious decision, but I don't know why I keep doing this. Maybe because I'm a brunette so making my girls blonde sets me apart from them a little bit? Maybe blondes have more fun? I have no idea, but I seriously need to change it up.

A book set in college

I've had this college-set book idea for a few years now, but I've never pulled the trigger on it, partially because it's based on events from my own college years, and partially because I've heard the market's not too good for YA books set in college (or New Adult, as some may call it). It blurs the line between Young Adult and Adult and doesn't fit cleanly into either category.

This is strange, considering I totally would have been down to read a book set in college while I was in high school. And in college (though I may not have had the time). I'm surprised the category hasn't caught on. I mean, dorm room drama, pesky RAs, peer pressure, frat boys, whacky professors, bad decisions. There's so much there.

And there are so many different kinds of colleges, publishers don't have to worry about them all sounding the same. The college experience varies by school size, region, campus culture, and so on. Presumably, authors would be making up their own colleges anyway, where they could dictate what this all looks like.

But that's just my two cents.

An adult or middle grade book

"YA is a saturated market," they say. Well, Alexa Donne says it is and so do plenty of others. I've decided that, if I can't sell this third YA book I'm writing, I'm going to pivot to another category: middle grade or adult. I actually have an idea for an adult book that I'm thinking of writing next. It's totally off the grid for me. Again.

Middle grade is another option, but I'm a little bit intimidated by it. It's been so long since I've been a twelve-year-old, I don't know if I could get back into that headspace to make the book sound convincing. I've technically written two middle grade "books"--one for my senior capstone in college and one for NaNoWriMo--but I feel like they're both mediocre. I'd have to write one or two more to feel confident.

A beachy YA summer romance

This is another one that's been on my mind for years, although I'm not sure these kind of books sell well right now either. As a contemporary writer, I can vouch for the lack of popularity of the contemporary genre, unless it's a rom-com or a dark, borderline thriller-type book. That's just my opinion, though.

Anyway, I'd love to write a summer romance book about two kids who meet at the beach and fall in love. Or something. I don't know. It'd be in the vein of The Summer I Turned Pretty books by Jenny Han. It'd feel wistful. Dreamlike.

A short and simple book

I tend to write long books. Two of my books are over 100,000 words. Which is a lot. I managed to get my second book under 80,000 words, but I really want to write one that's about 60,000 words. Something that has that twentieth-century minimalism and poignancy.

It'd be a really good challenge for me: learn how to say a lot in a few words, just like F. Scott Fitzgerald. Besides, there's nothing more enticing than a short book, right? I think Leo would agree. Or, uh, Gatsby.

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