I recently read a literary agent’s page wherein they commented on the sameness of the YA dystopia queries they were receiving. Specifically, this agent received a large number of manuscripts where the protagonist is an assassin protecting their family.
Of course, authors submitting manuscripts to agents are also mindful of the marketing whims of major publishing houses. The implication here is that over two dozen authors all came to a “realization” that a YA assassin protecting her family would be a good foundation for a solid story, and a “safe bet” to market to agents and the Big Five publishers.
My reply comment suggested that the best, most tense foundation for a story would actually be a teenage protagonist battling a dystopia controlled by her close family member(s). One of my “fanboy” theories about the Hunger Games trilogy is that President Snow may be Katniss Everdeen’s secret grandfather. He banishes his son to District 12 and later has him killed. In a case of perfect karma, that son’s daughter ends up being the leader of the rebellion against Snow’s regime.
I further commented that this specific plot might be a “hard sell” to the Big Five, as evidenced by the agent’s mass of querying authors taking a (literally) more family-friendly route.
The “hard sell” plot = A young protagonist ends up leading a large-scale rebellion against a regime controlled by a close family member their senior.
Q: Would such a plot work?
A: “Star Wars”
That’s right, the basic premise of the original Star Wars Trilogy is now something the pack of querying YA dystopia authors has ruled out, as being too hard to sell to the major New York publishing houses. 😈