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An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-06-20 08:29
Subject: [process] Writing Cliches of the Personal Kind
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, health, personal, process, writing
Author Shanna Germaine talks about her personal cliches in writing. It's kind of a funny list. She covers both things she returns to a lot, and things which are absent in her writing. After eight novels and close to three hundred short stories, I'm not sure much of anything is absent from my writing, but I certainly do return to a lot of things. In no particular order, and off the top of my head, here are some of my tropes:

  • Lost boys

  • Absent fathers

  • Absent mothers

  • Frightening grandfathers/distant male authority figures

  • Zeppelins

  • Angels

  • An absent God

  • People angry at the world

  • Talking animals

  • Gentle humanism

  • Reversal of gender roles

  • The "key man" theory of history

  • The price of magic/power/belief

  • Place, place, place

  • Self-discovery

  • Personal responsibility

  • The question of "who counts"

  • And of course these days, cancer, cancer, cancer

What do you find in your work, over and over?

Snurched from Shanna Germain at Year of the Word.

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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2010-06-20 15:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Everything I write -- or most of it -- turns out to be about water. This includes shorts. Other things would be issues of the under-class, a 17th century French vibe, plaits, clocks. And -- despite adoring my own -- I seem to have an almost total absence of mothers.
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Lady Jestocost
User: ladyjestocost
Date: 2010-06-20 15:45 (UTC)
Subject: Recurring Patterns in My Work
Well, patterns, esp. checkerboards.
Birds and animals, esp. penguins, rabbits and equines.
Women, lanquid.
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Bruce E. Durocher II
User: bedii
Date: 2010-06-21 22:43 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Recurring Patterns in My Work
Women, languid.

I remember one facing a floating/flying fish who would have required a Underdog Energy Vitamin Pill AND a Proton Pill to reach comatose.
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User: jess_ka
Date: 2010-06-20 15:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Abandoned children, internal metamorphosis, alternative families are the three that come immediately to mind for me.
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2010-06-20 16:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hey, Zeppelins are always ultra cool.
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User: e_bourne
Date: 2010-06-20 16:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Absent fathers

Absent mothers

Devastating loss

Random acts change history (or don't)

Humanism v religion


Maternal love

The force of change
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User: melissajm
Date: 2010-06-20 16:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Cities on hills

physical disability

hunger/starvation/food (WHY do so many of my characters end up eating mice?)


(per Tech Support: Renegades/misfits)

Literal underground societies

half-humans (or other species)



doctors, usually benevolent

journeys from safety to the larger world


fairy tales with a twist



(Man, Freud would have a field day.)

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User: shaolingrrl
Date: 2010-06-20 17:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The worth of "the small people" (thbthbthbttt BP!)
The importance of hard work and perserverence.
Men are jerks. (Hey, you asked.)
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2010-06-20 21:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Second chances. Wilderness. Fishes out of water. Uneasy relationships with parents and others who happen to be relatives. Unreliable narrators with self-confidence issues.

Yeah, that's some of them.
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User: melissajm
Date: 2010-06-20 21:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sounds interesting.
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2010-06-20 21:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
http://mmjustus.com, if you'd like [g].
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User: melissajm
Date: 2010-06-22 01:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
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User: mmegaera
Date: 2010-06-22 02:17 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You're welcome!
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User: crystalrmartin
Date: 2010-06-20 21:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Okay this is interesting. I hadn't thought much about this, but here goes...

Overcoming challenges to find Love. (This must be my dearly-held belief.)

Serial Killers (Multiple Times)

Not Happily Ever After, but close.

Ghosts and Paranormal Experiences

Emotionally unattached Parents (Abusive Even)

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