Thursday, November 6, 2014

Recurring Themes, or: Am I Being Redundant?

This is one of those, "I'm not even sure if anyone else would notice this, but I noticed it and it might be a problem, so I'm just getting it out there," things.

I'm in a massive writing phase right now, and as I was reading and plotting and planning and going over things, I noticed something about my work. A pretty big percentage of it, particularly my urban fantasy stuff, involved one character falling in love/being in love with another character who is, for lack of a better word, possessed. Or not alone in his body. Or at least has the potential to be something or someone completely different. I did this with Cambion, I've got a story coming out in an anthology next month where I did it again (set in the Cambion universe), it's maybe possibly happening in Soothsayer...maybe...and the cyberpunk I'm in the throes of right now does the same sort of thing. Which makes me wonder: am I being repetitive? Unimaginative? Possibly even boring?

I like genres that let me twist people up into knots, and those tend to be speculative. Included in that is making my characters into something other than what's immediately obvious, which, okay, fine plot device. But I think I need to be careful about overusing it. Hell, my epic fantasy clusterfuck that I'm trying to get through involves the same sort of thing, although the situation is resolved very differently.

The people who read this blog are probably the people who know my work the best. Thoughts? I'm not fishing for compliments, I'm just wondering if this is something you yourselves have noticed. Do you see this a lot with authors? Should I branch out a bit, maybe? I'm trying to. I'm writing (ha, I'm writing so much freaking stuff I have a spreadsheet, guys, I have officially become my worst nightmare) a contemporary romance that goes about things differently, which will hopefully not suck. Because the last contemporary story I wrote? It was You Get Full Credit For Being Alive, and my main character was in one disguise or another for pretty much the whole book. This says something psychologically about me, I'm sure.

Well, anyway. Off to Chicago tomorrow. I get back to Boulder on Monday. There will be wine, women and song! Should be major fun.

Happy weekend, guys :)


  1. What does it say about me as a reader that I didn't notice this until you mentioned it?

    I don't feel like your stories are all the same or redundant. Hmm... I get what you're saying though. Even in Academy, Ten was "possessed" for quite a bit of the story. Just sayin'...

    I don't think its a major problem. I think it speaks a lot to your talent as a writer that I didn't notice in the first place. :-)

    I think every writer has a comfort zone. I also think you have proven your willingness to step out of your comfort zone in recent years. Would the Cari of 5 yrs ago have EVER thought of attempting a contemporary story?

    As long as you keep moving ahead and trying new things as your muse directs, I think you're doing a good job.

    1. Hi Tiffany!

      Well, now I've gone and told you, you'll be seeing it everywhere in my stuff ;) And no, Cari of 5 years ago would NEVER have done contemporary, so there is progress being made. Thanks, hon, I appreciate the perspective. It's just one of those things you notice when you take time to look.


  2. Huh, that's interesting, and I agree with Tiffany - I wouldn't have noticed it if you'd not pointed it out, and that's testament to your writing skills. (And good call about Ten, too.)

    I'd be willing to bet all authors have themes they fall back on for preference (I can think of one for each of the 4 best-represented on my kindle), but I don't think you're in any danger just yet of us sitting here muttering that - for example - Soothsayer is just The Academy in different clothes :-)

    Enjoy your hen weekend!

    1. Hi VC!

      It is a good point about Ten, I just had some characterization similarities brought to my attention by someone else and Ten falls into the broad category of guys I like to write. But! As long as things are generally still coming off as new and interesting instead of repurposed, I'm happy. Thanks for the reassurances :)

      The weekend will be EPIC! I have spoken.