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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Oops, I did it again...

So, my WIP is in time-out for bad behavior and with nothing better to do (other than the continual dishes, yardwork, personal hygene--yada, yada, yada) I'm pondering Themes. Not the "This book is about the pursuit of happiness despite decades of self-hatred" kind of themes, but the author kind of themes.

Like how Mary Higgins Clark always has pasta, wine, and cheese in her books, and how John Grisham's characters are always cynical men who if not single, wish they were. You know what I mean.

Since I'm an egotistical writer, that thought came back to my own themes. What do I tend to repeat within my books. I have seven novels, one will be out in 26 days, though who's counting, and one other is Star Struck which broke all of my molds and didn't sell, which makes me want to leave it out. So I'm leaving it out, because it's my book and my blog and I can do that kind of thing if I want to, and hence I'm only counting my six women's novel in this highly intellectual discussion.

I have a hospital visit in every book--except maybe Sheep's_Clothing, but it's implied and summarized later.

All of my women have long hair. Weird huh? I mean, I am partial to long hair on myself, but that's mostly because I have a neck like a giraffe (truly, I have one more vertebrae than most women between their skull and their collarbone--which also explains why I'm short waisted and have to have tapered shirts to prove I still have a waist)

All of my women and men are Caucasian. That's pretty typical for LDS fiction though, but it shouldn't be.

Most of my women are divorced. Now, my last two aren't--but Maddie in Unsung Lullaby thought about divorce and Kate, my Sheep's_Clothing woman, would never consider it--but they aren't romances either. So I have to wonder, do I believe that romance can't happen for single people, or do I find it cliche? OR, do I find divorce Romantic?

Strangely, only one of my male leads has ever been divorced (Allen in Earning Eternity)

All of my books take place at least in part in Salt Lake--big shocker there, another LDS fiction trend I've been sucked into through no fault of my own! Yes, I'm from Salt Lake.

All my male leads are educated white collar--I've had a psychiatrist, a teacher, an accountant, a developer, an investment banker--oh wait, Tally from Tempest Tossed isn't necessarily white collar, but he's independently wealthy.

All my women are average. Not too tall, not too short, not too heavy, not too thin--though Emma in To Have or To Hold is pretty thin. but still are all in the 'normal' range of things. I like that though and don't think I'll change it. Now Janet was a little super modelish in Tempest Tossed, but that was okay cause she was a pain and no one really liked her (Well, I did)

What I don't want to have happen to me, as I've seen happen to too many writers, is they get a certain amount of books come out and all their characters start sounding the same, or the storylines are copy-cats. I hate that. So, in order to combat it I need to write about a short haired, non-average-sized woman of ethnicity who hasn't been married, has no ties to Utah, never went to college, but that Mormon women can relate to. Hey, she sounds more like the average Mormon than any of the women I've written about before! I might be on to something.

If you've noticed any other themes in my books let me know, or if I need to look for some in your books, tell me that too so I don't feel so bad :-)


Tristi Pinkston said...

I think you're very wise to analyze your writing this way so you can make sure that your books carry enough diversity. What's my theme? Babies. I seem to have written four out of five of my books with a baby in there somewhere. I can't help it -- I like 'em.

Oh, and don't forget that in the 80's, Mary Higgins Clark went through her "cape and boot" stage too, when describing what her heroines wore. She's also into wool dresses. And that pasta and wine is always accompanied by a salad, and the heroine usually prepares it for herself for a nice night in.

Heather Moore said...

Hmmm. I wonder what would happen if I dissected my characters? If I was a normal writer, I'd probably be able to go back and look at my character sketches. But I don't have any. I think my heroines are just too nice. Maybe I'm too nice. And I don't have the heart to give them any mean traits. I've got to work on that one.

Funny references about Clark. She is one of my favorites, but she does sound a bit old fashioned when she writes. You can tell she has lived very comfortably (at least since her big contracts started coming in).

Julie Wright said...

I love the idea of putting a work in progress in a time out! I've done that with three books now and only one has come out again to see the light of day and make it to completion.

i don't think I have a theme aside from the fact that most of my heroines are sarcastic and slightly bitter even though they want to be nice (what does that say about me???) All the heros are really nice good guys that are just so perfect that most of my fan mail consists of readers begging to be introduced to guys like that. Sorry ladies! I only know one guy like that and I'm already married to him. :)

C.J. said...

I'm similar to Julie, in that my men are for the most part wonderful, the women aren't as nice. Could it be I'm thinking of my husband who would never knowingly offend and me who puts foot in mouth often.

Josi--there's always a point in your novels where I want to slap the heroine and tell her to BE NICE! Is that a theme--maybe.

I don't have six novels YET, but I too put in hospital scenes even in the two unpublished ones--also car crashes!!! I need to be more original.