Thursday, March 27, 2008

On what I am supposed to be doing

It's possible that I'm not supposed to be computer is having technical difficulties and I can't check in with my fellow YAYArs and see if I'm supposed to wait until the E. Lockhart reviews are all done.

I'm supposed to be upstairs in the hotel room, socializing with le fam. Or lying on the beach because I am, after all, in Jamaica.



Okay. So here's what I've been wondering.

I'm remembering Suz's post about continuity through multiple books. If you've read more than one of my books (and oh, lucky you, if you have) you might have noticed a few things they all have. Brothers, some kind of addiction, someone taking care of someone else (yeah, that one's kind of huge. I'm thinking it might be some sort of fetish or something. Sort of an issue), soccer players, angst angst angst, struggles with religion, lots of things happening in extremely short amounts of time...

I'm not saying I copy one voice from book to book, but my main characters are similar. They are all young and male and somewhat sarcastic. They all have a best friend and a brother.

There's always a scene where my main character walks through his town and considers his life.

The point is that every manuscript I write is easily recognizable as MINE. So here's what I'm wondering. Is this a problem?

One of my favorite authors is Adam Rapp, purely because Under The Wolf, Under the Dog is undiluted literary brilliance. If books were sex, UtWUtD would be a really messy, really really drunk hook-up. It makes you dizzy sometimes and the next morning you're not quite sure which part of it was real and which part you made up.

I must have read UtWUtD about five times before I read any of his other stuff. And the common motifs are pretty specific and obvious: People peeing on other people's beds for no reason, abuse of painkillers for sciatica, scary teenagers who just want little boys to give them blow jobs, anatomically correct (or exaggerated) snowmen...

Yeah, it's sort of strange, and sometimes I'd get the feeling he lifted one sentence out of one book and threw it into another. And it's sort of like a kiss from your aunt.

It's nice and everything, and it's comforting and smells like home, but at the same time it makes you squeamy because God WHY does your aunt have to kiss you all the time?

(Just in case...Emily, Ruth, and Stacey, you are wonderful aunts and I love you very much. Kiss me whenever.)


At the same time, you've got authors like Chris Lynch. I love Sins of the Fathers, absolutely love it, but the rest of his books I really just want to flush down a toilet (sorry man.) I look at Sins of the Fathers which LITERALLY makes me cry with jealousy when I read it, and then I look at Freewill and Inexcusable and I think...the same guy wrote THESE?

One things for sure--if you're reading a hannah moskowitz book, you'll know it's a hannah moskowitz book.

But you won't find a sentence repeated in another manuscript, either.

By the way--I miss you guys, Jamaica is beautiful, and I'll be home soon. Hope it's okay that I posted. Hugs and kisses from down South...

<3 hannah


brittanimae said...

Geesh Shady. That was pretty deep for someone who's supposed to frolicking on the beach. But good all the same. Don't you ever take a break?? Have a fun rest of your trip!

AmandaKMorgan said...

Love the post, Shades. Hope you're having a great time! :)

Anonymous said...

Scary-good post, Shady.

Now go have fun on the beach!

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that last comment was from Madeleine. Although I'm sure there's all number of lurkers who think you're scary-good and deserve to have some beach time, Shades.

(This comment is also from Madeleine.)

Sage said...

Totally agree about wanting the author's books to sound similar enough that what you liked about the first is in the second, third, fourth, etc without being repetitive.

One thing that I'd allow for would be crossing genres. If an author writes something literary, then writes a paranormal romance, I'm not going to expect the books to really have much in common. This is probably why so many authors that cross genres use a pseudonym to do so. They don't want you to expect the same sort of things in the, say, dark sci-fi novel that you found in the HEA romances they also write.

Now I'm thinking about my own stuff. Like Hannah, I have lots of common elements--important sibling relationships, sarcastic female leads, limited description, and so on--but I'm not sure that the style of my novels are all similar. Granted, they range from YA high fantasy, to adult urban fantasy, to YA sci-fi, and now YA contemporary fantasy. I see a lot of similarities between some of them, especially the YA and adult contemp. fantasies. But I feel so different about the high fantasies and the sci-fi than I do about the contemp fantasies. My style seems to change a little with the slight differences in genre.

But maybe I'm imagining it, and a Sage book is clearly a Sage book, even across the spec. fic subgenres. :)