When I first starting writing I was very interested in the 'subconscious' aspect of the art. In other words, what does this piece reveal about my life, my feelings, my purpose, my (secret) desires, etc.? I've since taken a more serious, professional stance on my work, but I am still amazed by this notion of writing obsessions. I've read numerous books by the same authors and have found similar patterns emerging. For example, some writers' stories are permeated with sexual references, others, astute fashion details. Some authors will always have a character who is a teacher, or a musician, etc. What these things are, I've discovered are the individual authors' obsessions. And of course, we all have our own.
My question is, what continually shows up in your writing? Sports references, extensive descriptions of interior designs, characters who struggle with religious, sexual, political identity? Those things that are always on our minds are the things that end up on the pages we write. What's interesting about this, is sometimes we aren't even aware of this phenomenon.
What are you writing obsessions? For more clarity on the topic, visit my blog http://theintrinsicwriter.blogspot.com/ where I've written an extended post on my own obsessions. Or just reply to this post. Either way, I'd love to get a discussion going!
I want to answer this, really I do, but I haven't a clue if there's a "theme" that runs through anything. I'm so not there yet. I do tend to write about women that are on the cusp of casting aside their weaker, male-dominated relationships as they become strong and independent on their own accord, but that's a conscious element, one by design, not something that's patterned out of sheer happenstance.
I still think that counts. You just already know what fascinates you. Me, I had to figure it out after the fact.
Yes, I agree with Laura. It does still count. It still signifies a notion that fascinates you
I love this. I remember the day I realized that I wasn't necessarily a sci-fi writer, but that I wrote about what it meant to be human, and that naturally can be explored in sci-fi. It's not just in my writing, either - it's the stuff I respond to in others' books and TV shows and movies...
I've expanded a bit. I find myself writing about people connecting despite differences and stacked odds, but I do think the two obsessions are related.
Fun! I can't wait to see what others write!
I like that you came to the realization you weren't necessarily writing science fiction, Laura. I can't and don't read sci-fi, but the majority of my writer's group writes it so I plug along, reading, responding the best that I can. A few months ago, just for kicks, I wrote something that was a bit like the Matrix and read an excerpt to them. I thought for certain they would tell me to stick to the mystery/suspense/thrillers I lean towards, but they wanted me to continue exploring it. That's cool that you're open to exploration.
Right back atcha! I think the trappings of the story don't mean as much as we think they do. Some stories get labeled one thing or another, but if the story is good, who cares? Good for you to be in a writers group with people who write outside of your comfort zone! My group also has people from different genres (and media), and I love it. Keeps it fresh.
I'm with you on that--what it means to be human. I realized after I wrote my blog post on this topic that all the novels I've written, novels swarming around my head that I haven't yet written, and every novel that I've read that I truly loved dealt with people changing over a long span of time. I love the coming-of-age/saga stories. I love the way humans evolve throughout their lifetime. What better way to capture this than in a novel?
I don't know why or what is going on in my head, but I do write a lot about motherless women, women whose mothers died when they were children or who abandoned them, this never happened to me although my mother did leave me high and dry at age fifteen when she had a major breakdown, maybe that had something to do with it? It is not a thing I consciously decided to write about but these unmothered women do keep cropping up in my work.
It's fascinating, isn't it? And we're the lucky ones, we can work out whatever our issues may be in our writing - other people have to work them out in their lives. I have a friend whose mother left when she went to college, and lo and behold, when her daughter left for college, she up and left *her* family, although in a different way. But for the life of her, she couldn't see that she was repeating her mom's pattern.
On the other hand, we may not be working out personal stuff after all. Either that or one day I'm going to wake up to discover I'm an alien... or possibly a vampire...
Yes, I agree, we are the lucky ones! I really believe there is something to it. Even writing about vampires! Do you write YA?
Since I've written this post, it's occurred to me that in the beginning, THIS was why I wrote. I loved the discovery aspect of it. That has changed; I've become more serious about publishing, etc. but this is still my favorite part of the process.
That is so interesting. I'll bet it does have something to do with your experience.
There are several themes that tend to permeate my fiction work actually.
One, I tend to write about creative women. I have written artists, singers, writers, and the like but I think this is because it is who I tend to identify with. Otherwise, my characters are knee deep in research like an archeologist or some such. My own life has been a roller coaster of art and research so putting this into my fiction allows me to give it a sort of realism.
The paranormal is also a major theme for me. I've been a paranormal researcher for the better part of 15 years now. I find the topic fascinating and can pull from a myriad of experiences. Inevitably this leads to my third theme; spirituality. I think that my fiction does, to some degree, reflect my own spiritual struggles. From paganism and voodoo to alchemy, hermeticism, theosophy, and even to Gnosticism and Christianity my work runs the gauntlet on those topics.
Sometimes these things are consciously hashed out onto the page. Other times, I don't even realize that they are there.
Trying to jump in here. :-)