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What themes or motifs do you see popping up in your writing a lot?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Chilari, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

    I realised recently that wild roses appear in my writing a lot. Initially they were something associated with an immortal character I wrote a novel or three about. I stopped writing about him and the world he was part of about 2 years ago, but I still include wild roses occasionally, not even deliberately, just sort of where it comes up. Characters see them in hedgerows, or use them in spells. I occasionally draw them. I like them.

    Then there's the theme that I can't seem to escape, whereby two characters who don't much like one another have for plot reasons to spend a lot of time in each others vicinity, sometimes working together, sometimes not, and end up finding out enough about one another that they come to a mutual understanding which is not exactly friendship, but a certain degree of respect. I think it reflects the kinds of rom com movies I like best - the hatred becomes love plot as seen, for example, in Princess Diaries 2, but with a bit of my own worldview and my awareness that its a bit silly really added in.

    I don't exactly make a deliberate effort to avoid these, admittedly; neither do I make a deliberate effort to include them, though. They're just things I keep coming back to, and I think for the character one I will until I've written something complete that I'm happy with and can move on to a new theme. For the wild roses, who knows, maybe it'll become a signature feature that the observant fan will pick up on.

    Who else has themes and motifs that they keep coming back to? Is it deliberate? What effect do you think it has on the quality of your writing? How do you avoid being repetitive?
  2. Sparkie

    Sparkie Auror

    Servitude. Thinking about it now, I have a lot of stories that involve a master-servant relationship of some kind, as seen from the servant's POV. I've not done this intentionally, it just happens. I'm not sure if it helps or hinders the quality of my writing.

    What keeps the concept from being repetitive, in my case, is creating different characters for each story. Every relationship is different. The dynamic between one set of characters will be different from another set as long as the respective characters retain their own distictive personalities.

    I hope the above makes sense. I should have gone to bed hours ago...
  3. Rob P

    Rob P Minstrel

    For me it's the question of immortality in all its potential forms. Long life, Agelessness, Legacies, Defies death, Induced by Magic, Divine Intervention, Life beyond death etc etc.

    It is the theme about which everything I write is constructed and with basic outlines already created for another seven books, not all related to each other, I find I have enough variation in style and content not to be repetitive.
  4. Asura Levi

    Asura Levi Sage

    Dark Past definitely has a major hole in most of my characters background. Not that they were evil or anything close to that, but because its origin were usually marked with huge tragedies they believe to be their fault.

    To the point where one of my MC saw his parents being burned alive because the townsfolk discovered he was kind like a sorcerer and he was 'protected' because they feared him. (As a child, he couldn't do nothing to stop them.)
    This also bring another common feature, remote towns and villages usually view sorcery as evil while the major cities accepted it. Xenophobia also plays a big hole.
  5. Ophiucha

    Ophiucha Auror

    Killing a lover for a greater (political) cause. This is the ending to at least three separate things I have written with very little in common otherwise. Though in two of the circumstances, one of the two lovers was a cup-bearer (in the first story, the murderer was the cup-bearer, who simply killed himself along with his lover; in the second one, the murderer was a chef who wanted to kill the king and wouldn't let her girlfriend being the cup-bearer get in the way of that).

    Muteness. Most of my stories have a mute main character/narrator. Current project switches it up by having the girlfriend be mute and the main character be blind. This is really just a coincidence, I really never intend to make the protagonist mute.

    In an abstract sense, I guess you could say 'food'. This is less an odd coincidence or subconscious thing and more "I am a chef ergo 'write what you know' and all". Definitely deliberate since I just want to write about cooking... a lot of my protagonists are chefs. Molly and Theodore were both revolutionary leaders who were chefs. (And yes, he also kills his lover for a greater political cause, but his lover wasn't a cup-bearer and he just shot him with a pistol.)
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    One of the things I've been noticing in my work is that my villains are routinely big, epic, evil, scene-stealing personalities, and my heroes are pretty normal and mundane by comparison. It's not deliberate. I just have more fun with that sort of twisted, messed up personality, and they tend to escalate a lot.

    Take Captain Vollifer, from a challenge entry I submitted a while back. He's decked out with powerful weapons, riding into battle on a chariot with a flaming halberd, shooting arrows that turn into snakes, and then he gets the big character arc moment of his dead father telling him off for not being even more ambitious. I felt like it was awesome, but the hero was a ridiculous, pathetic runt who gets lucky for a few minutes early on, completely designed to give the bad guy his moment. Even though it was from the good guy's POV, the story is really about Captain Vollifer.

    I feel like many of my stories come across that way. I get into the villain's head more naturally and can take it farther without stretching the character's credibility. The characters I empathize with most are maniacal supervillains. That's horrible, right?

    I'm trying to open my work with five or six short stories introducing the heroes, and between books one and two, do another set introducing the villains. Just with a few brainstorming ideas the second set will probably be phenomenal (by comparison), but the first I'm having to work hard on getting right. But wow, I can't seem to put aside some of the ideas for that second group.
  7. Devora

    Devora Sage

    I don't think I've written enough to know a motif in my writing, but with what i've done so far i'd probably say that Companionship would probably be it.

    I have a few stories and ideas where 2 or more people have a close relationship with each other (whether it be Lovers, Brothers, or Friends) and work together in some way to better their lives and/or the people around them.
  8. Ayaka Di'rutia

    Ayaka Di'rutia Troubadour

    In mine redemption comes up a lot, whether it's the character's self-redemption or redeeming other people, lands, etc.
  9. ndmellen

    ndmellen Minstrel

    Anger issues. Lots and lots of anger issues.
  10. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Growing up. Being trapped by one's past. Loss. Finding family.
  11. glutton

    glutton Inkling

    Indestructible iron women and mediocre fighters who overestimate themselves.
  12. teacup

    teacup Auror

    Revenge, love, light and dark, death, storms and sorrow, memories of loss, clinging to humanity, ice and fire.
  13. Jamber

    Jamber Sage

    Oppressive situations (e.g. totalitarian government) and little freedoms that can join together to make big ones.
  14. tlbodine

    tlbodine Troubadour

    Characters with daddy issues or a family history of abuse/neglect (quite often in an insidious way). Related to that, families (and marriages) that fall apart.

    Immasculation. I didn't notice this one until my brother pointed it out to me. Often goes hand-in-hand with the "marriages falling apart" motif. I tried to defend myself: "Well, that's not an issue in Nezumi's Children! It has an entire female cast! Well, except for the half-blind prophet who was forcibly castrated and sent out from his colony....ok, never mind."
  15. glutton

    glutton Inkling

    I feel threatened... lol
  16. tlbodine

    tlbodine Troubadour

    *whistles innocently*
  17. Velka

    Velka Sage

    Wolves. Drinking. The question of if the 'greater good' is indeed 'greater' or 'good'.
  18. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    The greatest fear in my stories is of dying with something left undone--an invention never finished, a quest never completed, or just an apology never given. This is personal, since when I was very badly ill, I was afraid of dying without finishing my stories.

    I also tend to subvert or even attack traditional concepts of identity. My characters are far more likely to find expectations for their race, class, or sex stifling rather than supporting. This is again personal, a product of attending a public school with very rigid gender expectations.
  19. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    Wizards conjuring Lovecraftian abominations....or just Lovecraftian abominations in general.

    Also, though not quite as prominent, wizards tampering with powers/spells 'out of their league'.
  20. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

    People tend to be blinded a fair bit in my stories. Might be a subconscious thing, since when I was born, most of the doctors thought I'd be completely blind, among other problems. As it happens, I'm only nearsighted.

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