Friday, October 17, 2014

What's your stamp?

Happy Friday, OAers! If you haven't seen it yet, the winners of the October Mystery Agent contest have been posted. Head on over to look at the results and take a look at our interview with this month's agent!

I have been plugging away at a new project lately, and whenever I work on that new-project-groove, I spend a lot of time thinking about the work-in-progress in relation to other things I've written. If a story idea has themes, characters or relationships that are too close to my last work, then that idea either needs to wait a while, or isn't developed enough to have a life of its own yet (and then it still needs to wait a while.)

But there are similarities that follow me from project to project, too. I have been writing for long enough now that I've identified many of my favorite tropes to use, though I'm recognizing more and more all the time. I love stories about negotiating power imbalances: both in relationships and in the character's station in life. I love old, unreliable legends coming to life. I love the consequences of a long-past action echoing into the present.

And there are littler character tropes I love, too: found families, tragically codependent best friends, characters whose lives depend on saying the right words, characters whose decisions are fueled by someone long gone. And recently, it was pointed out to me that my shy, socially awkward characters show their love to those they're comfortable with by getting snarky with them. (And that is totally true. I love that dynamic.)

These tropes are sort of my stamp, as it were - proof that you're reading a Becky Mahoney story. And the fun thing is, the more I play with my favorite tropes, the more they begin to evolve. And I can't wait to see where some of them take me next.

What are some tropes that tend to reoccur in your work? How do you think your readers would describe a quintessential 'you' story?

1 comment:

J Lenni Dorner said...

Does a certain level of darkness count? LOL.
Other than that, my stories as of late are based upon the pre-dystopian moments. To quote a bat-film, "Some folks just wanna watch the world burn." I love pulling at the strings.
The thing is this- we all knew how Titanic would end when James Cameron gave us the movie. Yet there was a story to tell. There were emotions to express. It became about more than a ship meeting an iceberg.
That's my favorite starting spot now. Here's a utopia... it's gonna fall. Cross your fingers that the protagonist can figure out how to survive it.