What concepts are consistent through your writing?

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What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#1 Post by Vegos » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:02 pm

Basically, which concepts pop up pretty much in everything you write, whether overt or subtle? And, if there are such concepts, do you feel limited by the repetition? For example in my writing, themes of death, time and yin-yang type of dualism pop up very often, and sometimes it's a bit of a struggle to keep going without it feeling as if I've been here and done this before - even if the setting and the characters, and the plot are different.

Bonus question, any advice on breaking patterns?
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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#2 Post by HiddenCreature » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:47 pm

The solution is simpler than you're making it. I've been through this before. There's two options to take. You can either try to do something more challenging within your preferred writing topics. The challenge forces you to try something more unique than previous works.

Or, the boredom might be a sign that it's time for a different genre or topic.

You'll never know which until you experiment, though.

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#3 Post by Kailoto » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:04 am

I'm not sure if there's any specific concepts that are recurring... it's more like I only write stories that I'm really interested in, and there's not a lot that qualifies. A lot of my settings incorporate post-cyberpunk ideals, and I usually have protagonists that are introverted. I've never seen it as a problem, since those are my strengths; I am good at writing them, and enjoy it to boot.

That said, if you're feeling like something is too repetitive or unoriginal, it's probably best if you listened to your artistic instincts. Many times have I lost motivation over certain scenes or even entire projects, and I usually realized after a while that the reason I was so disinterested was because the idea sucked, and wasn't worth my time.

As for how to break patterns... I'm not sure if there's an optimal strategy or anything of the sort. Just pay close attention to the reason you keep repeating, instead of doing damage control after the fact. And accept that some patterns might be better off staying if you have a good enough reason for them.
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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#4 Post by YonYonYon » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:55 am

For some reason my fictional people keep revolting against monarchy, lol. I don't think that I have to change stuff yet tho, because the revolting part isn't the main focus of my stories.

I dunno about the breaking patterns.
But I think that you can.... uh... expose?.. I hope it's the right word, so yeah, expose yourself to new kinds of stories and concepts. For example, I didn't really care about clothes and fashion, but started following fashion blogs on tumblr just for characters design references/inspiration. I started to read how the costumes are made, what kind of material is needed for what kind of clothes, what is the history of fashion, etc. And the more I saw pretty clothes and the more I knew about them, the more I started to love them.

More examples: cars. Oh my god, cars! Pretty, shiny, super cool cars! At first I was uninterested in them too. But I saw shows and movies like Motorcity, Mad Max: Fury Road, Redline, and some more. I loved them! And because of that I started loving the cars. Which led me to wanting to write a story about them. And mind you, I never wrote anything like that.

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#5 Post by thornbush » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:15 am

In terms of specific concepts, most of my stories incorporate freedom vs oppression (or dissatisfaction, lack of fulfillment, etc.) because I think that's always been a struggle in my own life as well as others I see around me. ("Happiness" vs financial reward/security as an incentive to do things you're unhappy about, for example.) I also write a lot about death, pain, etc. but I think that does come with being a "darker" novelist. It seems like most writers have to write about death, though! Maybe it's inevitable. ;)

I get what you're saying in terms of writing the same things over and over. I sometimes feel that way as well, but if you feel like that whenever you sit down and write something, you should reevaluate your idea. Ask yourself whether you're really drawn to that topic or whether it's just something you feel comfortable (read: safe) writing. As others have stated above, get out of your comfort zone. I typically enjoy writing dark characters, but if I'm getting too bogged down and depressed by my own writing, I take a step back and try to pick out a lighter plot with more optimistic characters/themes. Optimally, try to figure out what else you're interested in. Broaden your horizons.

When I was first starting out writing, I read some advice by Holly Lisle (she's great if you need more writing tips) that said to emulate somebody else's style. By mimicking someone else, you may grow to understand what it is you're interested in and what your own style is; you may become interested in other concepts that you don't implement in your own writing. Also, research stuff you've read about. If you're curious about anything, look it up. Write about other genres that provoke you. I'm not saying to completely stray from the genres you like the most. I'm saying to find new ideas to implement in your stories or new genres you're interested in. Expand your mind, basically. If you want to break free from a pattern, you've got to make it happen for yourself by doing other stuff. If you keep writing the same works and you're bored with what you're writing, the real solution is to write something different.
Last edited by thornbush on Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#6 Post by Ozitiho » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:41 pm

I think I like to write about characters hurting one another... By that I mean tragically. Like murder or abuse. I once read I should be sadistic towards my characters, so that happened. It's not like I have deep seeded issues, I'm pretty sure. But whenever I write, I find making my characters suffer an easy cheat to make things intriguing.

But then I only have a few pieces I've worked on. I'm pretty sure I'll get over it in future stories if I keep writing. I'd say if you want to break such a pattern, just do it... Doesn't seem too difficult to me. Do it before you get a writers block because of it.

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#7 Post by Parataxis » Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:32 pm

I find that the struggle against something known to be inevitable is common throughout all my stories--whether that thing be defeat by a vastly more powerful foe, or being consumed by some sort of dark process, or just getting older. The evil done by good people in hopeless situations where there are no good ways out also appears a lot. Which I suppose is all part of my existential crisis about the perceived hopelessness of the world...

Thankfully I also tend to have bittersweet and above endings so... Yay?

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#8 Post by Hazel-Bun » Wed Aug 19, 2015 5:58 pm

Feelings of hopelessness, being abandoned by authority figures, and longing to feel connected to something greater than ones self (good or bad).

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#9 Post by YossarianIII » Wed Aug 19, 2015 7:48 pm

Vegos wrote:Basically, which concepts pop up pretty much in everything you write, whether overt or subtle?
No one ever has fingers.

Vegos wrote:Bonus question, any advice on breaking patterns?
Consider not breaking them.

If your writing feels stale, by all means experiment with something different, but there's nothing wrong with repetition.

"themes of death, time and yin-yang type of dualism" is a pretty broad topic. You could use it to describe, like, maybe every modernist novel ever. I don't think anyone is going to exhaust those ideas anytime soon.

I'm no expert, but I'd think that whatever method encourages you to spend the most time seriously writing (and therefore practicing) is probably best--whether that means experimenting with different styles or going all monomaniacal within a limited range that interests you.

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#10 Post by thebackup » Wed Aug 19, 2015 9:34 pm

Love, most definitely. It doesn't matter if it's a central theme or not, it manifests itself in various ways. A lot of it has to do with my struggles with romantic love. I've written several rough ideas that have an introverted male protagonist dealing with his struggles, how he overcomes it, his luck changing, etc...

Love is perhaps one of the most powerful emotions one can experience; being denied it can be just as powerful. I'm sure that most people would want to love, and have that love reciprocated.
Vegos wrote:Bonus question, any advice on breaking patterns?
I guess if any ideas pop up in your daily life (like from the news / newspaper, your errands, etc), integrate them to what you currently write.
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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#11 Post by BreakingMachines » Mon Aug 31, 2015 10:20 pm

While I would like to say I don’t write the same type of stories, from the few stories I have written, I generally do have a pattern of themes that are recurrent.

So what are these themes?
Exclusion and being the Pariah
Trying your hardest and failing

Exclusion and being the Pariah

I typically have written stories about the themes of exclusion and being an outsider, and how to deal with that situation. So I typically write a lot about individuals who are outcasts, social pariahs, or those who are outside of social norms. Sometimes these people are generally different from society because of interference from an outside source that has forced them into this role. Sometimes they are put into this position because of their personality, who they associate with, and social choices.

Ex) a person without superhero powers in a world full of superheroes, a person with Luddite ideals in an android reliant society, an otaku/hikkiomori , a bankrupt Noble, an adult web cam artist,


It would make sense that after highlighting the theme of exclusion, the next important theme in my works would be acceptance. Generally this doesn’t scale out to their society necessarily accepting them, instead my characters would search for this acceptance elsewhere, in their peers and romantic partners. And this typically occurs when I write about romance. Typically when I write about romance I like to generally like to write about couples who are opposites, and typically dislike each other at first. But after spending time with each other because of similar goals, they grow closer, and use each other traits to help each other grow.

I also like to write about how people come to terms in accepting other’s traits and their own traits.

I love writing about people who fail, and fail hard, with consequences that lead outside of them, and affect other people. Sometimes these failures are actually result of what they perceived as success, and other times plans go awry and people screw up.

Other themes include:
Learning, Hypocrisy, Removing Bad Influences/Negative people from your life, and my favorite unhappy endings.

I'd recommend reading other books, watching movies,reading about history, watching documentaries, ie basically just exposing yourself to different types of writing, media, and information, because this will broaden your idea pool, and influence your writing in a positive way. If you're really stuck you can research a topic you'd never study about, or you can set up a emotion or feeling you want to focus on.
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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#12 Post by Fox Lee » Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:24 am

Subverted gender roles, and I do mean completely subverted. I find that usually when writers do this, they'll adapt the role - like, put a female character in a traditionally male story archetype, but then also alter that archetype to suit a girl, creating a Distaff Counterpart sort of character rather than a straight-up genderflip. This doesn't interest me - I'd rather take an archetype which is always seen on one gender/sex, and change only the gender/sex while playing everything else straight. I agree that doing this alone isn't the best way to approach equality, but, it's the way that satisfies me personally, so it's what I like to do.

On that note, a lot of what motivates me to write is being angry with somebody else's work because they started off with a really create concept, but executed it in a way I felt was lacking, so I guess you could say my writing is often reactionary? That makes sense given that I have a bit of an anti-authoritarian bent, too.

I have a big thing for depicting "contrast and compliment" pairs of characters (Tomboy + Girly-Girl, Innocent + Veteran, Natural Leader + Dependable Follower, et cetera) who contrast strongly, but in such a way as they match nicely. I also have a thing for non-romantic devotion (Prince + Retainer, Young Master + Battle Butler, General +Lieutenant). Especially if it's accompanied by very-romantic devotion between the same couple. I guess I like couples who are intimate on multiple levels, and the kind of trust that involves.

Also, happy endings. I think we glorify sadness (and especially martyrdom) too much these days, and people unfairly view a happy ending as being less artistic or mature than an equally unrealistic sad ending. Just like comedy is harder to do well than drama, I think it's harder to write a happy ending well, compared to a sad one. To put it another way, I think many people mistake suffering for depth, which is a real tragedy to me.

Less serious themes? Everybody is Bisexual Unless Proven Otherwise, and Exiled Princes are Sexy.
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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#13 Post by E-night » Tue Sep 01, 2015 4:47 am

Being a social outcast or just not fitting in tends to crop up in my writing a lot.

Gender roles almost always appears in my fantasy in some form or another. And lately I have been kinda preoccopied with sexualitu as well (Though this one is not as common as the others)

I also like villain protagonist or anti-heroes more often than not. (Properly a hold out from reading many, many fantasy stories where the villain was the most interesting character).

And then I have an on going vendetta against anything named fate and destiny.

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#14 Post by SundownKid » Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:38 am

Hmm, let's see..

*Plot twists
*Grey morality
*Cyberpunk derivatives

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Re: What concepts are consistent through your writing?

#15 Post by LavenderLotte » Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:14 pm

Themes that run through my work:

Decadence - There is often a gritty, vile romanticism that flows through my work that celebrates and glorifies the taboo, depraved and the ill. It's more of the late 1800s/early 1900s variety than the soulless apathy of the 21st century.

Boredom (Ennui) - Usually how boredom causes people to do very drastic things and whether boredom is the fault of over-saturation or do we even have the right to be bored in the first place in such a vast, colorful world that we inhabit.

Mental illness - Depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, split personalities...etc.

Feminism - I noticed feminist undercurrents in my storytelling. Most of my characters are female and it emphasizes their choice to degrade, take the moral high ground, independence, female vitality... (Some times it takes a radical turn as some of my females usually stab men's crotches and attempt to cut off...bits... *worried laughter*).


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