While the techniques to achieve such a result are definitely worth exploring, on this occasion I am reflecting on why authors end up writing certain things – themes, genres, styles etc. Considering why we gravitate to particular formulas can help inform our decisions, improve our craft and teach us about ourselves.
Time and again I return to the themes of environmental and social stability, investigating the forces that disturb and encourage it. These usually involve journeys. Journeys are convenient and generally easy ways to explore situations and characters.
Fantasy is also important. Part of the reason why is linked to reader engagement. Fantasy provides a realm in which complex circumstances can be explored more conveniently while also drawing in readers through interesting set-ups. For instance, an orphan discovering the identities of their parents is an emotionally charged scene yet it's also one we've all seen dozens of times. Using unique elements to breathe new life into a common trope can make it fresh and even ripe with implications you might not have imagined.
To continue the example, what if a lamp post suddenly came to life and told the orphan that their parents had given them up because they'd been indebted to someone threatening to turn you into an outdated cassette player. Even if stories about normally inanimate objects aren't your usual preference, this set-up has the potential to get your imagination churning.
Another trend I've noticed in my own writing is the tendency to write homosexual couples in fanfiction. One of the reasons I enjoy exploring these relationships is because homosexuality adds multiple layers of complexity to explore throughout the narrative. Even if same-sex pairings are accepted in the character's world, issues of competing partners, societal expectations and even role assignment contribute further intrigue.
What themes reoccur in your art? What subjects and conflicts fascinate you? Are there topics or scenarios you explore in personal writing but would never share with anyone else? A fun writing exercise is to find random scenarios and set aside half an hour where you force yourself to write them. You won't always enjoy the process or the end result but this will strengthen your style and broaden your experience. Now that spring is here with summer fast approaching, get out your lawn chairs, hammocks or blankets and get some fresh air while you create marvelous stories. Happy writing!