General · Writing

The Forest for the Trees: Obsessions

Most writers have very little choice in what they write about. Think of any writer’s body of work, and you will see the thematic pattern incorporating voice, structure, and intent. What is in evidence over and over is a certain set of obsessions, a certain vocabulary, a way of approaching the page.

I read this in The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner and it makes me wonder.

I’ve noticed for years that somethings appear over and over again in some writers work. The Irish in Nora Roberts novels; I think almost everything she wrote has something Irish, a character, an ancestry, the country, something! Mercedes Lackey uses the word ‘perfectly’ over and over and over again. It’s really annoying!. Plus, she has similar characters, the poor child with bad or missing parents.

But I think I only truly realized that most writers stick with certain themes 18 months ago when I read a book by Marguerite Duras and a watched a movie whose screenplay she wrote. Despite being two different mediums, they were eerily similar. It wasn’t the same story, but they were similar enough that you knew (I knew in any case!) that it had to be based on her life.

Anyway, that line makes wonder: what are my particular obsessions, my certain vocabulary, my way of approaching the page? I don’t know. Beyond the obvious fantasy factor, I’ve yet to notice any similarities in my stories.

I am wondering: what are everyone else’s obsessions?

10 thoughts on “The Forest for the Trees: Obsessions

  1. In a few of my stories I’ve noticed that I have a guy character with the same eye color, hair color, and hair style. although in each story the guy’s personality is usually very different. That’s the only thing I’ve noticed so far.

    1. I don’t know really know why it is…maybe it is what my perfect guy looks like…I’ve never really thought about it before.

      1. I don’t know what my perfect looks like either. Just tall, dark and handsome. Which is both cliche and describes a lot of guys, you know? And not all of them are appealing. And I don’t really like blond hair on guys. But I had to spend some time figuring out what my novel’s MC dream guy looks like and he turned to out to have long blond hair.

    2. LOL. And I know what you mean by the guys with blond hair. I don’t really like it either but I guess that cuz I don’t see guys with blond hair on a daily basis so I’m not used to it. And I kinda just love guys with dark hair and lighter colored eyes (like dark brown hair and blue or green eyes).

      1. Mmm, guys with dark hair and blue eyes. 😉 A lot of girls must like that combo. It shows up so often in romance novels!

    1. Yeah, did you know someone wrote a book examining romance novels? It’s called a billion wicked thoughts or something like that.

      And, oddly, your comment went into the spam folder.

  2. I didn’t either! I saw it on this book blog I Google reader. Well, I subscribe to google’s book bundle, so one of the blogs that appears in that.

    And it really is! I have this set up so that once I approve someone, all their comments afterward show up without needing approval, so it shouldn’t have even showed up in the pending comments area, let alone in spam.

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