In our writing we often recognise patterns, be they repeated language or similar types of scenes that keep cropping up. In the underwater scene of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling uses the word weed once every paragraph (with a few exceptions, but it averages out). Most people know she is also incredibly fond of adverbs (see what I did there?) and Hermione wouldn’t be Hermione if she wasn’t telling the boys off for doing something she doesn’t approve of. Don’t mind all the Harry Potter references. I just started rereading the series.
Anyway, I’ve found a few common elements in my own work, which I shall present in a list:
- Characters drinking coffee This one happens all the time. All four main characters in Coldfire drink it religiously, although they do drink other stuff on occasion. I don’t even like coffee myself.
- Characters having trouble sleeping Maybe this has something to do with my own messed-up sleeping patterns, but I have a lot of characters who don’t sleep very well. For my protagonist of Coldfire, Darian, it’s a combination of recurring nightmares and the occasional paranoia.
- Conversations held during mealtimes All the time. Eating is generally a rather sedentary activity, so it can be useful for important dialogues but I overuse it.
- Dead parents I don’t even have an explanation for this one. A lot of my characters are orphans, or believe themselves to be.
- I have an affinity for adverbs I’m trying to cut down, but some adverbs are JUST. SO. BEAUTIFUL.
- Lots of dialogue Enough said. My characters are very chatty.
- Sadistic villains I really need to work on humanising my villains and antagonists. Some of them are just too evil to be realistic.
So what about you guys? What patterns do you see cropping up in your writing?