No, this isn't just a cheap excuse for me to say "EVERYTHING" and have another really short blog entry. :P This is something I've been thinking about for a while.
I do a lot of plotting, when things are going well. (When they're not, well... look back over about 70% of this year's entries.) There are common threads that show up in a lot of my plots, mostly in the form of a few favorite tropes - things and themes I like to return to, whether I've really worked with them or not. Sometimes they work with what I have planned for the story, while other times, I have to either strip them out or not add them in the first place.
After seeing this pattern, I asked myself: these themes are clearly what I want to write, yet I keep putting them in as part of the background. Why am I not writing a story that focuses on them?
Since I'll need an example for this, a big one for me is the Cosmic Horror Story. There's something about the overwhelming darkness of the universe and the horrors that dwell within it that appeals to me, and I've never been sure why. Themes from that show up in a lot of my plots, but I haven't put any real work into a story that makes them the focus. The closest I've come was way back in my second book, which dealt with a dark, corruptive god as the big bad behind the actual antagonists.
I've never gone back to that story because I pantsed that book and ye gods, it was a mess. But something about that darkness has stuck with me ever since.
I know that "write what you want to write" is one of the big pieces of advice we writers get; I think we've all been hearing it for years. But when I started thinking about this, it struck me as interesting to have something that I clearly want to write but never have. There are, of course, bits and pieces in my idea file that could count as this type of story. One is a seriously warped take on an old fairy tale that is entirely Loni's fault. :P And yet, I never do much work on these ideas, even the ones that intrigue me the most.
After spending some time thinking on it, I think I figured it out: I like happy endings. And stories like this are largely meant to end in pain, despair, insanity, and/or death. Most cosmic horror stories I've read are like that, and while it works for the genre, it's hard for me to think of stories that don't end without at least a little happiness. So I suppose it's easier for me to work with some of the themes and ideas from the trope, rather than going full doom and gloom.
Though I might have to try that someday, just to see if I can do it.
So, what about the rest of you? Are there themes that pop up in a significant amount of what you write? Is there a genre or something like that in which you'd like to write but don't? And do you know why there are things that you aren't writing?
Next week: NOW KISS