Monday, July 2, 2012

Is it possible for an author's writing to stagnate (meaning there's little style difference, thematic difference, maturation, or development of real or perceived flaws in the writing) over time, and what might one do to prevent such a thing from happening?

This is a good question. I think it’s really easy and, in some cases, quite common for writers to, as you put it, stagnate for a number of reasons.

First, most writers will gravitate toward a certain voice, a certain tone and mood that feels natural to them. I know that with my style of writing and editing, I will end up with punchy, fast-paced text that doesn’t include elaborate descriptions. It’s just the way that I’ve developed my voice as a writer. I like to explore different ways of writing—first, second or third person, present and past tense, different genres—but I do have a distinctive voice that will probably come through in all of my stories.

Similarly, the themes of a story will typically reflect what big ideas or questions the author is exploring in his or her life at the moment. I think that will almost always come through in some way in the story. Personally, I read a lot of philosophy which makes me ask different questions about the meaning of life as I work on each book so that there isn’t too much repetition of moral dilemmas and thematic material.

When I write my books I try to have a different flavor and plot for each one. While all of my novels are thrillers, each has a different feel:
The Pawn: psychological suspense
The Rook: techno-thriller
The Knight: gritty crime
The Bishop: political intrigue
The Queen: terrorist activity
Opening Moves: intense suspense
Placebo: science-based conspiracy

By purposely setting out to create a slightly different mood and plot focus, it keeps the stories fresh and helps me avoid writing cookie cutter novels that are basically the same in plot structure.


  1. That explains why I loved The rook above the others (so far), getting into techno-thrillers.