Monday, December 6, 2010

Recurring Elements in Your Writing

Have you ever looked back at your writing to realise you seemed to bring back the same elements and themes from one story to another? I know I do, and I know I'm not alone, as Margo at Urban Psychopomp did a post about it last October. But as November came to an end and I looked back at my two novels, I realised I had more connecting elements than I thought, and sometimes they're present in older stories, too.

So let's take a look, shall we?

1. The wind as a divine element.

I'll blame living in a windy city and loving the constant gusts for this one. It's not the first time I associate wind with power and change. In Edingher it's the main religion while in White Echoes it's a single character's personal belief. I may have an obsession for wind.

2. Music as a channel of emotions, especially grief.

This was an intentional theme for Edingher - or, well, I knew music would be an important plot element in Prince Heike's attempt to redefine his country's obsession for expansion (from physical considerations to cultural ones). I had not planned on grief, perhaps because I had not planned on there being grief. White Echoes' use of music as a channel for grief is completely unintentional. It was a spontaneous idea, but I am likely to keep it, if I can.

3. Pregnant women giving birth

There's not a lot of explanation to give on this one, except that in both case it's a major plot point. I have no idea what made me want to write about pregnancy this year, but there it is!

4. Home/Family

Associating these two is perhaps my most frequent and obvious theme. It's in nearly every story I imagine, because family is something I care a lot about, and because I feel it's important to be somewhere you feel like you belong. I don't do it on purpose, but I'm aware it's in my writing.

So, what are your themes? What elements did you find sprouting up in all of your stories? Do you know why they're there?


  1. Fire. Vomiting. I like the first, and for the life of me can't figure out why the second shows up so regularly. Also, recently, dogs.

  2. Parental abandonment. I don't know why. I swear I don't have parental issues... I don't think.

  3. Cacy: Don't worry, I have no parental issues either, and yet family problems keep cropping back up in my novels, too.

    Hillary: Do you have dogs vomitting at the wrong place, wrong time? (such as.. when there's a fire going on?) ;)

  4. Of course, Claudie. "Dogs Vomiting Into the Fire" is the title of my experimental splatterpunk piece. (Also: eww)