Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Guardian angels in high school: The new query zeitgeist?

In the past two weeks (well, technically, seventeen days; I started making hash marks on a pad of paper on May 18th) I've received no less than twenty-four YA queries involving guardian angels attending high school in secret and subsequently falling in love with their charges.

How is it that a large group of writers all come up with the exact same idea at the exact same time? I'm curious. Thoughts, anyone?

33 comments:

Joya said...

That's actually kind of impressive, lol.

And I have no explanation. Jen and I actually almost went with a guardian angel story idea, so I can't even talk!

hldyer said...

Perhaps, unbeknownst to these writers, their novels are based on a true story...

And the guardian angel in question specializes in protecting writers...

And he really wants his story told, so he's just inspiring the crap out of all of his charges rather indiscriminately.

jvogt said...

*Scratches that idea off his "to-write" list*

B.E. Sanderson said...

That's one heck of a coincidence. Maybe someone mentioned guardian angels as MCs on a writers' site somewhere and a bunch of people thought "Hey, that's a great idea!"

*shrug*

michaeljasper said...

I wonder if some movie similar to this just came out, or is now available on DVD? Innnteresting.

archangelbeth said...

Standard YA with vampires, except search-and-replace "vampire" with "guardian angel" due to something like http://www.sjgames.com/in-nomine/ ?

storm grant said...

The pilot episode of "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles", except with angels instead of reprogrammed killer robots.

No, srsly. You watch it Monday; Tuesday you're in the shower (cuz that's where they keep the ideas), next thing you know, it's a YA novel. Could happen.
~ Stormy

Amie Stuart said...

I think story ideas can float around up in the ether and sometimes more than one person grabs for it. About 18 months ago I came up with an idea for a Sci-fi book which my agent is currently shopping and guess what? About a month ago I read about this TV series that was similar. Not EXACTLY the same but there were definitely some similarities...we laughed.

And a couple years ago I had this idea for a book that I told NO ONE about (for something I hadn't seen done) and about six months later guess what I saw?

And no I'm not telling you my idea *ggg*

Stockyard Queen said...

It's just something in the air. I've seen similar coincidences many times in the past, in nonfiction.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Perhaps there was a movie/TV show/other book a little while ago that caused mass inspiration. Or, as archangelbeth said, maybe people got that vampires are popular now and are trying to have the same success with the next-best supernatural creature.

Meradeth said...

There are a couple of reasons, possibly: the Maximum Ride series was about kids with wings, which isn't much of a stretch to get to guardian angels. Also, you mentioned picking up a client with an angel manuscript, so you're probably seeing queries from people who think you'd be a good match because of that. Personally, I'd say it's because they've stolen my idea :-)

And here I thought I was being all original...

faerie-writer said...

It's a franchise thing. I had a dream about it the other night. Writers all think their idea is just their own, but they don't realize that it's really a franchise and that many writers buy into the same idea/franchise. Heh. Heh. (Says the writer whose next novel is going to be a gypsy/angel Renaissance fantasy.)

La Gringa said...

Faerie-Writer--

A franchise is a licensed property, one that you pay money to access.

I think you're thinking about something else.

Meradeth -

The angel series my client is writing is very different; it's more of a literary alternate history, actually.

faerie-writer said...

Hahaha. You'll have to take it up with my subconscious. I'm afraid it has a mind of it's own when it comes to symbolism. ;)

Georgiana said...

I wrote my book about angels because the lead was hanging around my brain, specifically on the right side, right above my ear, smoking incessantly, tapping his foot and sighing a lot. I was actually 80k into another book, which I abandoned, when I started the Gabriel book. That was in March of last year.

I'm just wondering if other people are also infected with angels demanding their stories be told.

BTW - I've always been super creeped out by the ideas of guardian angels falling in love with their charges, but you may have guessed that already...

Merry Monteleone said...

Maybe it's a Charmed thing, the show is on like three or four times a day, and they have recurring themes of angels or white lighters falling in love with their charges... it's also big with middle school and high school girls...

On the other side though, this is why the writing and voice are so important... ideas float around in the ether and anyone can grab one, it's your spin and the way it's written that really grabs you.

Em said...

Oh my, that sounds like such a standard anime/manga plot to me. (And anime has been gaining popularity over the past few years, so...)

Nicole said...

Oddly enough, I recently read a strange YA book about vampires who are actually angels (and who act like Gossip Girl characters). I wish I had thought of it.

legionfalcon said...

Clearly, I should have already started work on an angel YA novel.

Well, now at least I know what I'm working on when I'm done with outlines! :)

S. E. Ward said...

It would be so much more entertaining if the charge were a high school teacher, the charge were posing as a student, and they fell in love. Automatic tension FTW!

WTF is it with all the damn angel books? And I say that in total seriousness.

S. E. Ward said...

That's the angel posing as a HS student. Forgive me. I'm cleaning house, and it's left me rather addled.

Sera Phyn said...

A horrible and (as far as I can tell) inexplicable coincidence. I do have a very pertinent question, though:

Do any of them sound good?

Georgiana said...

A little research shows that there is a school called Guardian Angel High School right there in New York, on 10th Ave. You should totally check it out and report back.

It's pretty obvious someone or something is trapped there and needs you, intrepid agent and skiffy fan, to come and rescue it!

The OnyxHawke Agency said...

I'd say its probably a simple result of various school shootings and other insane things weighing on the minds of writers.

Julia said...

It would be so much more entertaining if the charge were a high school teacher, the charge were posing as a student, and they fell in love.

Yeah, it could star Drew Barrymore. Or Jon Cryer. Or Johnny Depp.

Karen Duvall said...

I think it's pretty cool when ideas cluster like this. You know the books won't all be good, but if one takes off, it starts "the next big thing." I'm all for it.

I have guardian angels in my UF, but it's not YA, and they become the Fallen. The book's pretty dark. The idea and story got me my agent, so I think the angel concept might be kind of hot after all. 8^)

Spencer said...

There was a New Yorker article recently by Malcolm Gladwell called "Annals of Innovation" that relates to this conversation. There's a long precedent of identical ideas, even big, fantastic ones, popping into many heads at the same time. Calculus, the telephone, evolution, decimal fractions, and color photography were all once like these lovestruck guardian angels. When the climate is right for a particular idea, people throughout the world have independent but identical eureka moments.

Karen said...

Definitely something in the air that writer-radar picks up. I know an editor at a SFF magazine who once told me that she gets stories in batches -- one month it's ghosts, next it's alien abductions, etc. Very weird.

sue said...

Weird. I'm 47,000 words into my YA fantasy about a guardian angel who falls to earth after falling in love with her charge.

After reading Twilight I wanted to write a YA fantasy and I looked through my old journals and found this one-paragraph hook I'd written years ago about the angel thing, and now, a month later, I'm over halfway finished with a first draft

it's strange--the words are just flying out. this has never happened before.

crap, I wanted to query Colleen with it, but if she's being swamped with identical queries...i don't know.

benreeder said...

300 million people in the US, statistically I guess you're going to come across this kind of thing. Me, I dunno. I write about demons and mages, w/ nary a guardian angel in sight. Maybe I'm just evil?

jmeadows said...

My first thought is that they read TWILIGHT and did a find/replace: Guardian angels instead of vampires.

legionfalcon said...

I am hard at work on a guardian angel falling in love with their human charge novel.

It's gonna be so awesome! ;)

(yeah right, like I really need another novel idea to crowd in my head).

evilphilip said...

It was in a movie just recently. To see a fantastic movie about the topic of a guardian angel falling in love with her charge, check out Angel A, by the same French director who brought you Fifth Element.