Every author has certain subjects that tend to come up a lot in their writing. I’m not talking writing styles, like favoring ellipses (I removed about half of the ones I put into Ancient Ruins because I tend to over-use them), but more concepts and themes. One of the things I try to focus on is knowing my own tendencies and weaknesses. And I figure I may as well talk about the tendencies that I’ve recognized in myself. I’ll actually admit, Ancient Ruins and the entire Ancient Dreams trilogy is unusual in that it hits almost all of the different subjects at the same time. Usually the stories aren’t quite so…dark.
Angels & Demons: I adore angels. I absolutely love succubi. Angels rarely make direct appearances in my books and stories because they’re generally powerful beings of light, and their presence would wreck the balance of power. But I love their possible presence. On the other hand, seductive succubi on the side of the bad guys? Or even striving for redemption? I admit it, it comes up more than it should. I’ve been trying to rein myself in on this subject.
Corruption: Hoo-boy, this is a big one. Corruption as a concept fascinates me. I often have to remind myself that I’m forbidden from writing horror. My wife refuses to deal with what comes of me writing horror, so often a degree of corruption creeps into the stories. Just like redemption, I consider corruption to be something that can happen to anyone or anything. Angels can fall, demons can ascend. Almost nothing is immune to this, save the primal gods of my settings, but that’s another subject. I try to keep this to a minimum.
Deities: I love deities in stories, particularly when they’re at least slightly involved in events. I’ve come up with a cosmology where the Primal Gods create multiple universes, while lesser deities manage each universe, so it allows me to write with at least somewhat similar concepts between universes without too much issue. Generally deities aren’t as directly involved as they are in Ancient Ruins, but that book is an exception in a lot of ways.
Elves: This is the biggest obsession I have. I love elves. Adore them to pieces, and they almost always make an appearance in my books and stories. Even science fiction, where if nothing else they’re either body-modified humans or characters the characters play in an MMO. If you read my books, it’s all but inevitable. And don’t even get me started on dark elves…I love them, too. But not the type from D&D. Stupid, backstabbing… *meanders off, muttering*
Extreme Powers: I like coming up with the powerful characters in worlds. They’re usually the first characters I create, in fact. This leads to a world having characters that are far more powerful than the main characters…usually. Sistina is an exception of exceptions, there. But the entire world of Ancient Ruins was based around her, so what can we expect? In any case, I generally like having these powers in the world, but generally they don’t move because there are other, counter-balancing powers. Sort of the theory of mutually assured destruction, when a single character is a full nuclear arsenal.
Female Leads/Lesbians: I…okay, how do I explain this one? You know what, let’s just take the bull by the horns. For about as long as I can remember, I’ve identified most with heroines in books. I don’t enjoy books with male leads nearly as much. Every time I set out to write a male lead, the story falls flat. When I set out to try to write a heterosexual relationship for the main character, it dies, horribly. The last time I did this, the male turned into a villain. So lesbian leads are pretty much inevitable. As non-main characters, gay or heterosexual couples (or poly relationships for that matter) are quite possible and even likely. But not for main characters.
Harem Stories: More often than I like, this comes up. I come up with multiple characters that I want my lead paired with, and I can’t choose. So the character ends up with more than one. As far as I’m concerned, this will only happen if people are willing, and especially with the lifespan of elves and Sistina, trying to go monogamous for 800+ years seems like a bad idea. They tend to be a lot more open to such.
Magic: In fantasy, magic is an inevitable part of my writing, and it’s powerful. In science fiction, it’s replaced by psionics and nanotechnology. I can’t get away from it, not really, but not all characters have access to this.
Pervasive Darkness: This is a big one. In all honesty, Ancient Ruins is a fair bit darker than most of the stories I’ve written. The implications of slavery and rape are far more pervasive than normal, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist in my other writing. I don’t believe in shying away from the idea that these things happen. In Ancient Ruins the bad guys have the ability to magically compel obedience on slaves, and unfortunately, I see one of the most common uses for evil individuals would be to take people as sex slaves or the like. Unfortunate, but how I see a lot of individuals, particularly in a much darker world.
Reasonable Evil: Most bad guys don’t see themselves as evil, even in a world where one can see the Gods of Light and Gods of Darkness, and even potentially ask them questions. Most evil individuals consider themselves as doing the right thing, no matter how twisted their motivations. Of course, there are those who are exceptions, but those are relatively rare. Accompanying this is…
Redemption: As far as I’m concerned, if a character has a mind (like, they aren’t an unintelligent ooze or the like), they can achieve redemption. In theory, mind. Many characters that are evil don’t want to change, so their redemption isn’t going to happen. Some are misguided, while others like demons are ‘innately’ evil, but even they can dream of redemption. I never say that a specific character is completely and utterly irredeemable until the story is done.
The Great Balance: This is the final part of my creation of stories. In my view, neither good or evil will ever truly win. Without light there can be no shadow, and without shadow there is no light. So any victory, by either side, is temporary. One of my other books I’ve got half-written, Sisters of Radience, addresses what happens when one side actually wins. Spoiler: It’s bad.
Anyway, those are some of my thoughts on my tendencies. *pauses and looks up at the list* Geez, I’m a weird writer.