Thursday, January 5, 2012

Make Like The Cars and "Shake It Up"

I had a somewhat disturbing thought in the shower this morning.  Okay, that's a really weird and not entirely appropriate way to begin this post.  Let me back up a little.

I finished a new story yesterday evening--19 pages in two days!  It was a marathon, but I went with it and got everything on the page.  It was the first fiction I'd written since summer; my memoir class this fall had me writing all non-fiction.  It felt amazing to get back to made-up characters and situations!  I'm still in that finished-story-haze that's a little like realizing your crush likes you back.

Anyway, I was thinking about the finished story while I was in the shower and then it hit me.  This story has the same tone and feel of a story I wrote over the summer, which has the same tone and feel as a story I wrote last spring.  Then that horrible word popped into my head:  rut.

As a writer, do you find yourself writing the same kinds of stories?  The same message or the same feel or the same tone or similar characters?  I realized all my stories lead to this moment where a character realizes how alone she is, how alienated she is from the people and places that surround her.  The settings might be different and the characters might have different names, but the past few stories I've written have all been about the failure to make a connection with one's surroundings and the world in general.

Maybe this means I should tackle this topic on a larger scale, like in a novel.  Or maybe it means I need to not write anything else about alienation for a few months and see what other ideas I can come up with.  Or maybe it just means I'm sharpening my skill at writing this particular kind of story.

What do you guys think?  Do you write one kind of story or character, or are you all over the board?