I had the true joy of attending my first writers conference recently. I paid for my time at the pitch practice tables where I got to meet my first true-to-life literary agents.
The first agent seemed very closed door right from the get-go. We had 10 minutes with each agent and this one used 7 (and only 7) just to give me feedback about my query format. I was not expecting this agent to jump on my book, this was only a pitch practice, but the feedback comments on my subject were... rude. I'm not talkin' it just wasn't her type of book, but more like this agent thought I was trash for NOT writing the subjects they prefer. This agent is very vocal and opinionated online (not the agency's website) to their preferences to the point of stating "I wish the trend of fantasy and animal characters would just die."
This brings me to ask: are certain (fantasy) story lines dead? How would a writer know? And this is not just based on my own genre and findings.
Yikes! This agent sounds young, inexperienced and heady from the rarified air she's certain she's breathing in those lofty agent heights.
I have no idea if certain story lines are dead in any category. Neither does anyone else. What agents do know is what isn't selling, and what they're tired of reading. That doesn't mean you have to pay any attention because if someone does a new twist on an old trope, and does it well, it's a whole new ball game.
And let me say this about agent pronouncements like this. We know a lot of stuff but we aren't infallible. Some of us who've been around long enough to see trends come and go realize that what's not hot today is what we're all looking for tomorrow and it's really REALLY shortsighted to make sure a writer will never query you again cause you were rude to them at a writing conference.