Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Can Write That Again

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today's Topic: What themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?

I'd love to say that I'm so freaking original that nothing from Story A shows up in Story B because as a writer's it's my job to make sure everything is fresh and unique and non-redundant. However, I can't. Some things just show up no matter what.

One parent is always either dead or missing from the protagonist's life. And when I say missing, I do mean that in a "they've never physically been here" kind of way*. Sometimes both are gone. Project count: 4

The F-bomb shower. Found in early drafts only**, my love for this four-letter word gets showered across all dialogue and exposition. Project count: 4

Blonde girl who is either uber-bitchy or extremely Type A. This might date back to Middle School and High School Alicia dealing with several bitchy blonde cheerleaders. Project count: 2

The fun-loving male friend who constantly cracks jokes. These guys actually end up being so much fun to write that they have a tendency to derail me at times. Project count: 4

Location is set in Boston and the surrounding areas***. I grew up here and with the exceptions of vacations have never left. Project count: 4

Music, in particular rock. More specifically, metal. I listen while I work, write, and walk. I have characters in bands and "with" bands. I have characters argue over the finer points of Black Sabbath and wear inappropriate band shirts. Project count: 3

Do you notice something that you repeat from project to project. Are there certain authors where you notice they have a certain "thing?" Share below.

* The fact that my parents have always been together and in my life hasn't escaped my notice, so I'm not sure where this comes from.
** Though still present in later drafts.
*** This includes side trips to Boston and the surrounding areas.
_______ hit of the day: Never Let You Go by White Lion


  1. Hey! We have some of the same recurring elements :) My character's also have a parent that is either dead or missing, I also use music a lot (my very first novel had popular 60's and early 70's rock songs as chapter titles) and the F bomb does get quite a bit of usage in first drafts.

  2. "I have characters argue over the finer points of Black Sabbath and wear inappropriate band shirts." Win! That is hilarious!

    And I get derailed by fun, funny guys too! They're just a blast to spend time with!

  3. Ditto on the funny guys. And the f bombs.

  4. Like you, many of my stories are set in the Boston/ New England area, for obvious reasons. My characters deal with family issues. And there are always mysteries, secrets and betrayals. :)

  5. Love the F bomb shower, too funny. And oh, do I love the Boston area. It's so distinct and so pretty in the fall. That marathon you guys got is pretty cool, too.

  6. I also have to slash the f-bomb when I read through my first drafts :)

  7. Bahaha, amen to the f-bomb. In my contemporary YA, my main male character drops the f-bomb so much that I start sighing when I go through to do edits and have to rewrite every other line of his dialogue.

  8. Sometimes the funny guy friend is my favorite character in the book. I like how you gave project counts. Good idea.

    I always end up setting my stories in the Boston area or the Cape or nearby, even though I now live in VA. I grew up there and my teen years are tied to the area, so that's the place that comes to mind most when I'm thinking of a setting.

  9. I swore I'd never do the parent dead/never here thing but then with both my current projects the parent's are alive (yay) supportive (yay) but...not really there. My only excuse is for project the protag has gone away to school, the other project the parents are away for work. I guess I'm trying a little to hard to have my cake and eat it too.

  10. Guy friend for the win! I don't usually tend to write cussy characters, but that's changed lately. My friends are bad influences. I am their "bright, neon clay" and they want to mold me. So far, I just use what they say and write it into my books. Heehee.

  11. Love the "fun-loving male friend who constantly cracks jokes." He's been known to derail me as well. And the f-bombs... love that you include them (I do too!)! It drives me nuts when an eighteen-year-old fictional guy in a super intense situation says, "Well, darn!"

  12. I have the blonde bitchy type too. And yep it's because I was also their victim in high school. Ah well, at least we have fodder for our writing now. ;-)

  13. #1,3,4,6 - all in my latest! Well, my mean girl is a redhead, but still. Interesting.

  14. Hi Alicia, I am a fellow Campaigner and just joined your blog. I've been thinking about themes, settings and motifs because I plan to participate in NaNo in the coming weeks. Having a clear picture in mind before starting to write is certainly a big help. Happy authoring!


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