consistency between stories
When we write, we all have ideas. Generally speaking, ideas and themes always have some common elements. However, it takes work to notice the common elements that are generally in a story. Here are some of mine.
Finding oneself: Who are you and what is your purpose? I find it interesting that is one of my predominate themes. Shad was making a way for himself in a world that didn’t really want him as a sweeper. Hope found out who she is throughout the whole story and where she fits in, as did Ka’yam in that same story. (Someday, I’ll write something about Hope.) Kontyo, again, struggling as a sweeper. Not so much in Dragon Slayers yet though. We’ll see.
Government is stupid: Yes, I have very negative opinions about our government right now, and many of those feelings leak over into my writing. In Hope, Ka’yam frequently made comments about the government would have won the war if they weren’t so stupid already. In Shad, the government underpaid the sweepers and kept them from doing more things. (However, common people were involved as well.) In Mindskill, if I ever wrote it, one of the main characters has a huge complain with the government an wants to do a major reform. Kontyo, because he left because the government didn’t maintain the prisons well. Again, not all. Dragon Slayers doesn’t have it as much (which is fascinating because that is my first political story), nor does Giant’s Wife, if I think about it.
Well-to-do characters: I don’t know why, but generally I have some well-to-do character involved, and not always as a pompous jerk. In When Darkness Swallows, Kontyo was rich. In Shad, Kontyo was again, from a rich background. (Keep in mind I wrote Shad before Kontyo). In Dragon Slayers, Justin is from a rich family. In mindskill, Vanessa’s father was extermely rich (takes to being a neural surgeon.) Heddwyn was rich in Giant’s Wife. (not raised well to do, but rich because of his job.) Interestingly, I’m a far cry from rich. Maybe that’s why I do write it like that.
Some of these common elements, however, do hurt the story.
Weak guy/flakey girl: I’ve written two of these stories now. The generally idea is the guy is hurting for some reason, and the girl decides to help him and eventually, does so. The problem comes when the guy is a rather strong character and the girl is this pathetic, happy, careful individual all the time. I did this with Giant’s Wife is an easy one to point to.
I don’t know how much we should be paying attention and either avoiding or embracing the themes that we set. Obviously, if you consistently paint a false picture of one group of people, you are going to lose both credibility and readers. On the other head, if you always have the theme of finding identity, people who like those kind of books might be more likely to read it. I think that it ends up being something carefully balanced between good and bad.
And if you’re thinking that you don’t have any themes, think again. We all have biases and it is only logical that they sneak into our writing.
Anyone else notice themes within their writing?
Also, mini announcement. Starting either today or tomorrow (we’ll see what time I get home today) I will begin posting “Dragon Slayers” like I posted “Giant’s Wife”, one section at a time, every day. (Unless I get three comments telling me not to do that because it’s annoying and you’d rather read it all at once.) So keep an eye out for that. That becomes a bonus post every day too.