07 October 2009


This post follows on from Monday's post last week on examining your voice in writing. I was really interested to see how people described my voice; it was all very positive, which was touching. Thank you :)

I’d like to build on the concept of voice a little bit today and talk about patterns in writing. I mentioned last week that I could tell who had written what from my CC friends, and if you take another look, you’ll notice that mostly what I referred to was patterns in their writing.

Voice – patterns; patterns – voice. Same thing? Maybe.

So what patterns can I see in my own writing?

First of all, characters. The friend who I quoted last post described my characters as mostly being softies with a core of steel. Let’s have a look at how that holds up:

Athara, from The Black Gates – Yup, definitely true here. Athara is forced into becoming her town’s Healer when her mother dies unexpectedly, and for a long while she’s overwhelmed by it all - and then she realises that no one is going to step in and solve the problem for her; she has to do it herself.

Callie from Magician's Thunder - she'd kill me if she thought I was calling her a softie, but really, she is. She doesn't want to get involved, using the excuse that the entire idea of magicians is stupid - but really, she's afraid. It's not until her little sister goes missing that she realises how strong she can be...

The original Jess from Jesscapades - A tricky one, here. Reading through the draft, she comes across softer than she ought to be. I'm working on that for the next draft.

And to round it out with the boys, Logan from Logan's Prize, the unnamed MC from Neighbourhood Watch, and Toby from Guns and Ostriches.

Also, a lot of my characters seem to be YA. I wonder if that's because that's truly what I enjoy writing more, or if it's my 'lack of life experience' (frog, how I hate that phrase) showing through.

Settings: Well, since I write urban & contemporary fantasy, we're of course going to list suburban and urban settings. But recently, also, schools! We have the Evil Overlord Academy, the Shard Academy, the Secret Breaker Academy, Fiddlefern Elementary, Olivia Batterby's school,

Themes: Redemption. Confronting your inner darkness. Making peace with yourself. Fighting for what's right. Making peace with your life.

Other Randoms: Souls. Glass and other shiny objects. Magic being tied somehow to colour; colour in general. Whenever I think of magic, I see an iridescent shimmery rainbow glow cast over everything. Animals, both made-up and real. Sisters. Demons o.O

So, how about you? What totally random things show up often in your writing?


Merc said...

Very good post, Inky! Definitely a topic I find fascinating--to see what patterns and elements people have show up in their work.

I'm not sure how random mine are, since I'm more aware what shows up but, well...

- demons (a big one), whether as characters, variations, exploring what it means to be "evil", different theological takes on demons, etc

- redemption as a theme is a huge one for me--as well as what it means to love someone, loyalty, friendship, duty.

- for characters, they tend to often be tormented people with Issues (lots of shades of gray). Many of them seem to be killers (by trade or not). O:) Even with many, many flaws (and I do love my anti-heroes), they have some better traits. I also like the broken ones and redemptive arcs. Maybe you noticed. B-)

- and, of course, zombies. 'Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Hey, this is a great topic! I love exploring themes.
I'd say for characters, I often have withdrawn characters that aren't involved in the action 100% of the time. They watch as much as possible. Cy from The Coming of Night is like that; so is Barrow in my upcoming 'Reversing Roles' (in the first chapter, anyway).
Settings; cities and seas, I notice, recur a lot in my writing, especially New York City and 47th street.
Themes; A lot of family themes recur, I think, in my writing--the strength and resilience and especially dependability of family.
I should do my own post on this.
Thanks, Inky!


Charmaine Clancy said...

I think you're amazing for writing about magic so much. I struggle with anything like that - but for NaNoWriMo I will be writing about a mystical realm (gulp).
Love reading fantasy, so doing my research with The Alchemyst, The Messenger and the Poison Throne. Book shops love me when I visit.
I'm looking forward to reading Jesscipades to hear your 'voice', just - well you know, the uni assignment thing.

Liana Brooks said...

What themes do I have? Let's see...

Confidant characters - I hate wimps so all my characters tend to have strong personalities and be leaders. I might have to try and write the reverse some day. But I'd probably not like it very much.

Family - I have single parents, orphans, adoptees, large families, blended families, you name it - I have that. Family interaction fascinates me.

Violence - By and large my characters first solution is violence. I have very few who can talk their way out of a situation. Why bother when shooting someone ends the trouble so quickly?

Languages - I love slipping other languages into my books. Latin appears frequently as do Russian derivatives.

True Love - This happens sometimes. Pairs are natural for me. But I also have some characters who are destined for bachelorhood.

Life vs Death - Extended life expectancies are common as are the debate over when a person should be allowed to die. That comes up frequently.

Boom! - Things must go Boom! on a regular basis. High body counts are a theme. I donate the pieces to Merc for her zombie army.

Krispy said...

Ooh, interesting things to think about. Off the top of my head, I've noticed I tend to have magical/talking animals or animals who aren't actually animals in my stories. One or another character has to have a familiar.

I also like themes dealing with self-discovery, loyalty and duty, and playing with the concept of destiny/fate.

Oh and I like fairy tales and mythology, which tends to translate into motifs in my writing. And I'm really into angels at the moment. And anthropomorphic beings.

Inkblot said...

Merc - Glad you liked it! :) I like seeing other people's patterns too. SO not suprised at your elements :D I think I've read enough of your work to recognise all the things you mention, hehe.

Scott - did you ever end up doing your own post? Let me know - I'd like to read :)

Charm - yeah, hearing you on the uni thing, blah! But magic... Well, it's easier than you think, really. You just make the rules and stick to them ;) hehe.

Li - lol, like with Merc, I've read enough of your work to recognise all those elements :D I wonder what deep things it says about your psyche that things never really die, violence is the first resort, and people always have families %-) :D

Krispy - sounds very shiny! I love animals; I want to try to weave them into my writing more. I love everything you mentioned there, though - so I'd probably really like your writing! :)

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