I've never been a big fan of trends in writing, or following trends or anything like that. To an extent, as right or wrong as it may be, I've always considered it gimmicky and I don't like gimmicks. Also, I tend to ignore them because I'm confident in my writer identity. I know my point of view and I'm confident in my style, views, and techniques. I know I don't like to write things over the top, and I know I like to use simple statements to make an impact. I know I like to use adjectives and adverbs and whatnot to build up a tone and use the tone to support the simple statements that give them more of an impact.
I also know I like to write fantasy. I like to write an enchanting sort of fantasy, and I tend to steer away from classic epic sword and sorcery. I'm also not a fan of dark or urban fantasy. This does not mean that I do not appreciate these other sub-genres, but I realize it's simply not who I am as a writer.
Recently, though, I've realized/discovered something that's probably really obvious: writing with some of these trends is an interesting experiment in self discovery. Or rather its interesting to see how you take elements in say, dark fantasy, supernatural, urban, steam punk, etc., and how, when you write, you make them you're own.
When I wrote 'Flowers for Clockwork Street,' I wanted to experiment with steam punk since it was something I had never read or even tried to write before. Clearly the story I wrote wasn't steam punk, but it had elements of steam punk in it that I think helped to elevate the story. I, without realizing it, took the things I liked about steam punk and gave them my own voice and style. As a result, I think it made the story a bit unique.
Therefore, writing with a trend or something that's trendy may not actually give you a story that's on trend but rather a story that feels more creative and unique. It's a test for your identity as a writer too, and to see how you can "cross-genres" and still be able to make something that's clearly yours. That clearly has your views, your styles, your trademarks.
I wonder, too, if you still haven't found your identity as a writer, if this experiment would work. If you don't know the things that you like to write, that you find important to write, that you find makes a story wonderful, and then you write to a trend, will you just produce another smattering of hollow trend literature? Is it this writer identity that gives good stories within trends depth and texture?
That's an interesting question to throw out into the void: Looking at trend novels, do writers with a strong and confident identity write a better novel than those that are just writing with a trend and don't know their point of view?
I honestly don't know.