Bob Pastorella's picture
Bob Pastorella from Groves, Texas is reading murder books trying to stay hip, I'm thinking of you, and you're out there so Say your prayers, Say your prayers, Say your prayers October 17, 2011 - 4:24pm

Every writer has little quirks they like to write about. Scarred/burned characters, the house with no windows on the west, the particular words you use and the way you use them. There are so many ways we project our selves, our obsessions, into our stories. We watermark our stories, and sometimes readers catch these, and use them to identify your work. A good example is John Irving and wrestling.

What are some of the things that you purposely include in your stories?

For me:

-Someone is usually going to have a scar. I'm not 100 % on this, but it does add some 'character' to your characters if done properly.

-Deception between characters. This isn't lying, this is more on the lines of characters purposely deceiving one another, whether it be something as simple as working as an undercover Narc, or as complex as bumping the ramson on a kidnapping. The deception is deep yet underlying the story, controlling motivations behind the scenes. The readers see it, the characters are oblivious. It's called Dramatic Irony and it an awesome tool to use.

-Biomechanical. With a few of my Horror stories, I've found myself trying to find ways to physically connect my characters with the technology they use, usually in gruesome ways. I have a novel I'm working on that will explore this in full.

-Not writing like Cormac McCarthy. Great writer, but he likes to tie several clauses together with 'and' which annoys the shit out me.

These are just a few. Please share your little trademarks and watermarks here.



Nick Wilczynski's picture
Nick Wilczynski from Greensboro, NC is reading A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin October 17, 2011 - 4:51pm

Graffiti. It is always coming up. I love Graffiti. And there are just so many angles to take, so much to say about just the idea OF Graffiti before you even get to whatever this Graffiti says.

And my endings tend to be downers.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 17, 2011 - 5:08pm

-Long participial phrases. This is like the most common sentence structure in a lot of things I've written this past year. I think just the flow of information is something I like too much, and makes past tense seem more active.

- Identity crises. Through apathetic world views, mental illnesses, or epiphanic moments, the question of "Am I who I thought I was?" is often implied somewhere in a story.

- The typical underemployed heavy drinking loser. This is as far as I'll take 'write what you know,' even though I think the character type is overused for sophomoric alternative fiction.

-Temporal suspension. This is one of the few things I've actively been toying with lately, narrating stories in a sort of still-life mode with little description of time and trying to get all of the plot points to read in a single instant. I've come up with some interesting story shapes but have yet to actually produce the right depiction.

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. October 18, 2011 - 5:19am

I set a lot of my stories in the same fictional city which a noired-up amalgamation of the town I live in and a couple of the cities nearby.

Lots of dodgy people live there.

That's about it contents-wise. I guess style-wise I tend to stick with shorter, simpler sentences as i'm not really a fan of the comma relay-races that drag sentences out over half a page.

postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words October 18, 2011 - 5:42am

the madman - spouts wisdom, or at least revelation & clues in the forms of wordplay, double-entendre and sing-song childishness. Not sure how well I pull it off, but the bastard always shows up.

Aaron's picture
Aaron from Texas is reading Robert Filmer's Patriarcha October 18, 2011 - 6:12am

-A good amount of scars as well.

-Generally a setting that for all intents and purposes is our world, but the place and year go unspecified. And similarly, a setting that only differs in having a very slight alternate history that rarely gets mentioned. Sometimes it's in the near past, sometimes in the near future.

-As well, a setting that resembles something you might call dystopic, but is portrayed as more or less neutral, or even good. Fragmented US, state socialism, nuclear war, stuff like that.

-Teenagers and their bullshit, often in the context of fun future technology. Cyberprep, I guess.

-Topic-comment constructions with redundant pronouns like "this girl, she's ____" or "Carl and I, we've ____". It has a sort of colloquial, direct feel to it, and it may also be influence from French.

-A badass anti-hero, usually a thief or assassin. Someone like this almost always emerges, but they're not always the main character.