common themes

(my idea of a hot ginger is on the scrawny side)
(my idea of a hot ginger is maybe a little on the skinny side)

So, in addition to the series I’m currently putting out, I’ve got all these notes and fits and starts of future stories, and I can’t help but notice that certain things come up again and again.

  • Tall, dark and handsome.
  • Hot gingers.
  • Severe Nordic blonds.
  • Twins.
  • New York City.
  • Cross-dressing.
  • People who are perhaps a little neurotic.
  • Elaborate world-building.

The GQ books do indeed include all these elements by the end of Book 4.

It’s not as if these common themes are a surprise to me, of course. I’m well aware of my obsessions. These elements don’t all show up in every single story, and my expanded casts have a wider variety of hair and skin colors, but the above tend to be the features of the stories I tell myself.

The Mr. has a fantastic idea for a contemporary paranormal story that would require writing burly, macho dudes doing stereotypically male things, and it would probably sell really well, and I might end up writing it after all, but right now it seems so far out of my wheelhouse. I keep wondering where would I put the flamboyant people and the descriptions of outfits?

If you write, what do you know to be your common threads? If you’re a reader, what details or themes make you want pick up a new book?

8 thoughts on “common themes”

  1. Loving your themes :)
    Seven out of eight are definitely shared, but I hadn’t considered twins before…..
    Nope, can’t even think of a book I’ve read with twins, so can’t be high on my agenda (perhaps higher for me is gender role reversal).

    1. Hi! I’ve always been fascinated by twins and the often-perverse assumptions people make about twins’ bonds. The only twins in the GQ books are the Blackwells’ footmen, Billy and Paul, so nothing too weird is happening there, but when I get around to writing what I keep calling the princess story, that features twins very prominently, one of whom is obsessed with the other. All of the real-life twins I’ve ever known are disappointingly normal and behave like regular, non-obsessed siblings, but I still enjoy the fantasy :)

      The gender play in the GQ books happens in the fourth book and it’s really just a blip, but it’s there :D However, I’ve been working on notes for a story with some side characters where it does factor in pretty significantly. It’s also basically the plot of the princess story, whenever I start work on that.

      (I’ll be contacting you soon! :D)

      1. Yay! So looking forward to contact :)

        Billy and Paul are great, I hadn’t forgotten them, but I was thinking more along the lines of twins as main characters in books.

        Your concept for the princess story sounds intriguing, especially if only one twin is obsessing.

        My son’s best friends are twins. They met at play school aged three (and I don’t think Jack realised at the time there were two of them) so he had to deal with getting the brush off from one, only to be warmly embraced moments later by the other. He has it worked out now though lol.

        I’m writing myself, but since I’ve only started after a lifetime of procrastination, I haven’t built up common themes. I am exploring power, powerlessness, and integrity.

        I often choose to read books with themes of non-conformism and rebellion – they pull me in. Your GQ books explore all of that (which probably explains why my life goes on hold as I devour each instalment)!

        1. I don’t know how I didn’t see this response before. WP is weird about its notifications. Anyway.

          I’m not surprised you’re a writer also – your reviews are very considered and eloquent.

          I also am interested in power/powerlessness, nonconformity, and rebellion. I am generally a stubborn noncomformist in my personal life, even when I think I’m behaving like a “normal” person, and I have accordingly vexed and tested the patience of everyone who’s ever cared for me, so I suppose it’s unremarkable that those themes show up in my writing :D I really appreciate that anyone else sees the value of those ideas in my stories, so THANK YOU :)

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