Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RTW: Déjà vu!

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:

What themes, setting, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find reoccurring in your work?

Confession: I am the Queen of Redundancy (cue collective sarcastic Noooo) so OF COURSE there’ll be recurring themes, settings,… in my work. Some good, some not so good. Here are a few I’m guilty of

1) Supernatural Abilities: I mostly write Paranormal YA about teens with special skills. Invisibility, mind-reading, superhuman strength. Weird stuff happening when my main character gets all envious. Boys who can get girls to do anything they want. All different, but still supernatural.

2) Sports: Can’t seem to detach myself from that love. My main characters always seem to have some tie to football, soccer, or basketball. Whether it’s as the statistician, the quarterback, or the supportive BFF, athletics finds its way into my stories. I love it. And it makes for a lot of fun research.

3) Beach: not always a predominant setting, but it’s there.

4) Fitting in and self-discovery. My MCs grow up a bit throughout my stories, realizing how they affect and impact people and the world around them. It’s cool.

5) Introverted and/or introspective protagonists—I think I just defined myself.

6) Snarkasm: my female MCs are rather snarktastic, IMHO, but deep down nice and harmless.

7) My villains are usually of the male persuasion. I just realized this. Hmm.

8) Ellipses and em-dashes: I’m working on toning it down.

9) Ugh: My females tend to say this a lot. I don’t have this issue with my latest WIP.

10) And romance. *sigh* Usually heart-warming, happy-ending ones.

There are definitely others, but I'll stop there.

HUGE PS! My new blog, YA Confidential, launched Monday and we’re celebrating with a huge giveaway! ARCs, critiques, and prize packs! Check it out, yo.

ANY recurring “stuff” in YOUR stories?


  1. You know, I usually have something water-related in my WIPs. And sports, but usually in a very small capacity. And hot boys who are a little rough around the edges. Or mysterious. And girls who don't put up with crap. And always, always, parents have an impact in some way or another.

  2. There's always some kind of genderbending or gender re-imagining in my novels, be it in a world that never had sexism in the first place, or a world in which only women can do certain things and those things are very valued, or just a girl who fights really hard against stereotypes. I also usually include some kind of emotional block that the mc has a hard time swallowing and getting around, and internally pushing through this has a big impact on both the character development and the mc being able to do what she needs to do to vanquish the evil or whatever. As far as settings go, I'm never content with the real world, and in my fantasy settings I love to juxtapose nature and industry (no medieval style worlds for me--I always go after the industrial revolution or the late 19th century.) antagonists are almost always female (3 female, 1 male so far). And a selfish, vain one: my male leads tend to have ridiculously high cheekbones.

  3. I've always got sports somewhere in mine, too, even if it's just someone's dad rambling about his former high school football days.

  4. What a great list and i love the sports. That's important to me, too.

  5. Bahaha! The em-dashes, ellipses, and "ughs"--I can totally relate! (see, I just used one of the cursed things lol). Good to know that I'm not the only one to abuse these :)

  6. Hmm. It would be really interested to see the percentage of villainous characters in YA fiction that are females instead of males. Maybe Kate will do a pie chart for us...

  7. Lori, you find me the stats and I will chart it up. :)

    Sports are in mine too, although not always organized team stuff.

  8. I tend to write introverts, too. In my last novel I decided to write a more extroverted character and it was tough! I love her, but she was tricky.

  9. "Ugh" and snarkasm and em-dashes! YESSS I am not the only one, LOL. I also love throwing sports into the WiPs!

    And I think it's great to have introspective MCs, they're much more interesting :)

  10. Snarkasm! I love it! :)

    Congrats on the launch of YAConfidential, btw! It looks amazing!

  11. My stories are all full of #4, 5, 6, and 8!
    Great post.

  12. I'm pretty sure the one thing that will never appear in my stories at any length is sports. I'm so not a sports fan and the idea of reading up on sports to research a story makes me want to pull my teeth out with pliers instead.

  13. Love the supernatural abilities.

    In mine - love, the cooler weather (I think I just wanted the cooler weather here and wrote it into my books, lol), and either my hero or heroine is a detective.

  14. I don't know why but all my protagonists are girls that fall for tall guys (5'9+). Not always dark and handsome but always tall.

  15. I just realized that sports have never made an appearance in my books. I was actually an athletic tomboy myself as a teen, so I'm not sure why it hasn't carried over. Hmm <-I'm saying that a lot today; these are thought-provoking posts.

  16. This is an interesting thread and from the guy, here’s why -- this goes back to some work I did – all the comments so far are from women. Probably around the same age. And sports was a key element in most of the comments.

    OK, so this is like a post for the future, but you have to remember the history. In the 70s we get Title IX, so equal athletic opportunity for women. Then 70s/80s we really saw the first solid generation of kids--> young women who grew up in a home where boys and girls both played a near equal amount of sports.

    Flash forward. You, ladies, are the first generation of women who likely grew up in a house where your mother was almost or nearly or AS likely to be the athletic stereotype. Your mother, my mom, they never got that chance with our grandmothers, who had no sporting opportunity.

    But current women in our generation, and we’ve written reports on this--- live and breath and speak and walk and talk the experience of being a youth or HS or college athlete with equal depth as any man. And it was because of what changed in the 70s for our parents.

    So--- you’re very special, as you are now passing this down to the next generation, and will multiply it again. In fact, you’re the first generation that had a broad spectrum of female role model athletes both on TV AND in your own home.

    Very cool stuff.

  17. I believe that my only recurring theme is EVIL. Bad, evil, nasty things happen in my books. I'm dark and my stories all over the place, except that they all have really EVIL things going on and happening to my MC.

    I was the Goth Girl in HS...maybe that is why I seem to be obsessed with dark happenings? ;)

  18. Supernatural abilities, romance, and the beach? You're a girl after my own heart. :)
    Just followed YA Confidential!

  19. We have a lot in common as far as themes, motifs and settings. I'm all about the romance (of course), I always include sports on some level, and the beach... love it!

  20. Snarkasm...I love it!

    Yay for romance...that's my favorite part!

  21. I had to stop in and say I just read your one-line pitch over at Operation Awesome and your book sounds AWESOME! Wishing you a ton of luck on having the agent interested! It's a book I'd read!

  22. I have a feeling I'd enjoy your books, my dear ;)

  23. I go a little em-dash crazy at times too.


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