Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I've gone identity mad

*Mika "Grace Kelly"

I chanced upon this song on VH1 as I was channel surfing his morning. It was pretty entertaining.

But this blog post isn't about that. Or maybe it is, seeing as that's the line I choose to use as a title.

Writing habits.

Every writer has them: get a cup of coffee, sit down, boot up the computer, and so on through their regular routine of getting in the groove to write. But I'm thinking more in terms of habits one finds themself encountering as they write. Or maybe habit is the wrong term.

One woman in my writing group says her stories all tend to center around one specific theme. She writes contemporary romance and the theme is the redemptive power of love, according to her. She said once that every writer has a couple of those themes the crop up in every story they write.

I'm not sure if that's necessarily true, but I do find motifs or general ideas popping up in my stories. Although I never set out to include them, the past couple of stories I've written include a few dream sequences (I know, never start your story with them, but I keep them a few chapters in and brief, and they do have a purpose), and the protagonist's past always plays a big art in the present trouble.

I don't know if that's really a problem. The two stories these aspects appear most prominently in are quite different stories. I tend to think that as long as these (habitual insertions of general motifs) are important, it's not necessary to throw them out, just because they're in another story. It may be a problem if one finds every story they write including the same idea, because it seems like that would get boring.

And I speak in terms of stories that one intends to get published, thus taking into consideration the buying audience. Not like I think any writer should cater to the trend of what's being bought, but they should consider how a fan would would react to reading the same book over and over again, with only the title and character names changed.

Of course, I may be generalizing my views as a reader onto the general reading audience. I wouldn't want to read the same book repeatedly, although I like to see details here and there (within the story or stylistically) that remind me of an author's previous works I've read. Consistency is one thing, but repetition is boring, in my opinion.

So anyway, I'll keep an eye out for when stories are developing in my head, see if the dreams or past influences are too strong or don't really help the story and are just there because I like them. I can always cut them out in edits, but if it's clear even before I start writing that these motifs aren't necessary, why write them in the first place?

Do any of you find images or situations that keep cropping up in your first drafts? How often do you keep them in the later drafts?

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