The Stories That Speak To Us (Brenda Hiatt)
This month we’re blogging about our “core stories” — those themes or tropes that particularly resonate with us, and that we return to time and time again in our writing. Some writers continually revisit such themes as, “There’s no place like home,” or “Broken families can be healed,” or tropes like “Amnesia,” or “Twins” or “Reunions/Second chance at love.” Of course, before I could write about this topic, I was forced to examine what recurring themes or tropes have turned up in my own books over the years. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. As is probably true for many of us, the same sorts of stories I tend to seek out as a reader also call to me as a writer.
And what might those be? I’d have to say that the one overriding theme in all of my books is: “Love conquers all.” Or at least, “Love makes everything better.” As for story tropes I go back to again and again, my biggie has got to be “Secrets” and especially “Secret Identities.”
As both reader and writer, I just love that rising tension as we (the reader and story characters) make their way closer and closer to The Big Reveal. When I think back to my favorite moments in my favorite books over my lifetime as a reader, nearly all of them involve some huge revelation that takes the characters (and often the reader) completely by surprise. Because I enjoy that so much, I almost always build moments like that into my own books. In fact, I wrote an entire historical romance series around the idea of secret identities (The Saint of Seven Dials series) and had great fun doing it. Similarly, every single book in my Starstruck series has at least one and often several Big Reveal moments.
Now that I’m past the halfway point of the book I’m currently writing in that series, I’m eagerly looking forward to writing that moment for my latest two main characters. Hee hee!
What do you, as a reader (or a writer) gravitate to in the stories you read and/or tell? Let me know in the comments!