Wednesday, September 14, 2011

again and again and again

it's another road trip wednesday with the YA Highway gang! i always seem to miss these, so i'm happy to be playing along this week.

today's RTW question is: What themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?

for some reason, this question makes me feel like i should recline on a couch and say, "well doctor..." - because it seems like recurring ideas/elements in a writer's work must say something about the writer herself.
so i thought i'd put that to the test with a mini-analysis of the common threads in my own writing:

only children
my MCs are often, if not always, only children.
okay, that's easy. i am an only child. it could be a case of "write what you know," and i know about only children and their relationships with parents. yep, this recurring element certainly does reflect me.

distant fathers
all of the books i've written so far and even the one i'm plotting next have fathers who are absent, emotionally distant or just straight-up bad guys.
well hmm. my dad and i are as close as can be. he's both my friend and my father, and we have no family dysfunction. so this recurring idea has nada to do with me. it's just something i apparently like to write about. huh.

socioeconomic status
whether rich or poor (often very rich or very poor), the social and economic situation of my characters' families often plays a role in their stories.
this recurring element probably has less to do with me and more to do with my observations of others. having always fallen pretty squarely into the middle class, i haven't lived either extreme, so maybe i write about those socioeconomic extremes because they fascinate me.

the internet
i write contemporary novels about teenagers. they use the internet. they practically live there.
this one has nothing to do with me and everything to do with reality.

fun topic! what are your recurring story elements? head on over to the YA Highway to play along! (link! click it!)


Stephanie S. Kuehn said...

You're so right. This is one of those intimate revealing questions. And your answers are great. Love the socioeconomic class element since it's often not very explicit.

Stephanie Allen said...

This was an interesting way to look at the question. But I do feel like what shows up in writers' work again and again can tell a lot about them. Great answers!

Lori Ann Stephens said...

Your comment about distant fathers resonated with me. I have the same motif, and I adore my father. I was afraid what he'd say when he read my book ("Is this father supposed to be me?!") But it was all good.

Kate Hart said...

Ditto Steph re. socioeconomics. And the internet-- surprisingly hard to do! I always worry whatever I mention will be outdated in a year. But you're right, it's totally a reality of kids' lives and should be included.

Sarah said...

It's fascinating the way that the internet has effected teenager's lives. My students have never lived without it. They consider me ancient, since I lived in the time of AOL and dial-up.

Sarah Enni said...

Good point re: the internet (she said, typing ... on a computer ... on the internet) Though it's an everyday part of our lives, and teenagers', it's surprisingly difficult to write in a way that feels natural.

And I also appreciate that you note the socioeconomics of your stories. It's such an interesting way to add tension, and to get a better sense of how the MC's worldview was shaped.

Crystal said...

I totally write jerky fathers, too! And my relationship with my dad is perfectly fine. Weird! And the internet plays heavily into my stories, though like Kate, I do worry that things will become outdated before my stories are published.

Angelica R. Jackson said...

One of my crit partners set her book in modern day, and when the rest of us pointed out that there was never any cell phone or internet usage, she defended herself by saying, "Not all teens have cell phones!"

Cell phones may not be in 100% of teens' pockets, but you'd better believe that they find ways to get on the internet.

Heather Anastasiu said...

Wow, this is cool, I'm going to have to try to jump on RTW one of these weeks. And so cool to think about recurring themes in one's own work, then wonder, hmmmmmmm, what's up with that, you crazy subconscious?!