This Saturday Night Live skit pokes fun at two great genres: fantasy and dystopia. While every genre has its own set of expectations, stories that follow them too closely run the risk of being labeled boring and predictable. The trick is to distance your characters, setting and plot from all of those that have gone before them, while keeping some of the familiar scenery intact. On the other hand, if you stray too far from the familiar course, you run the risk of alienating fans who like the genre specifically because of the elements you have chosen to leave out. As my Great Aunt Josie used to say, you can't win for losing. Ain't that the truth!
On a side note, many in the writing industry say that the dystopian genre is dead. I don't believe that's true. However, they're partially correct because it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since publishers have decided they don't want to touch it, agents know they can't sell it to them. This means that writers of the dystopian genre, unless they're already a household name, can't catch a break. But the dystopian genre has been around a long time. It's not truly dead and never will be. Therefore, I predict the next great dystopian book will rise up out of the self-publishing market. I'm looking forward to reading it. But for now, let's poke some fun at some of our favorite books across a variety of genres!