Trendy? Or Just Overplayed?

I’m sort of co-opting an Ask An Editor question for this post, but in going through my electronic stack of queries, I’m finding certain trends or plot devices that keep repeating. So this isn’t so much an answer to “what’s the hot new trend?” but a cautionary tale against writing something that relies only a certain possibly overdone plot device.
So what am I seeing over and over again? Books about people drowning, which, though it may seem timely in a summer that’s seen a rash of drownings on New York area beaches, begins to feel really familiar and unoriginal by the time you’re read the fifth or tenth or twentieth query that uses as a plot device someone drowning or worrying about drowning. Not to say that it can’t be done well, but I’m just putting it out there that I’m seeing a lot of it.
Also, reality shows. This feels completely overdone to me, and I’m not just saying that because I’m the opposite of a fan of reality tv. As I recently responded to a partial that centered around a reality tv show, “There’s something about setting a novel in and around a reality show that takes away some of the creativity of the work to me. ‘Reality’ shows are, to such a large degree, a falsely constructed mini-world that using one as a basis for a novel feels almost like a crutch.”
More as they come to me!

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