Characters and Tropes

I opened a popular and literary work that'd I'd call science fiction but critics would call "magical realism," and before I got done with the prologue, all I could see was the work of an overly earnest writer that was trying very hard to not be seen as too trophy, writing a book that stared herself as the main character and an elusive non-traditional boyfriend.


Now I'll probably give the book a second chance but it provoked some thought about my own writing, and story telling styles and habits.

First of all, I don't really put myself into my stories in specific ways. I don't have legions of characters that are intense, but quirky, young writer/student types: nothing that you could look at and say, "ah, that one's clearly tycho." At the same time, there's a little bit of me in all the character's I write, but that seems utterly natural.

This culminated in a series of thoughts about the differences between "professional/academic creative writers" and whatever it is that I do. As I think about "what comes next in my life," and I try to sort out the role that fiction writing plays in that life, I've thought about the differences between these two pursuits, and goals. I'm not even sure that I'm coherent about this enough to explain all of the contrasting points in my mind right now, let alone come to some satisfying conclusion.

In a lot of ways, I sort of see my fiction writing as being very similar to my essay writing, except I'm writing a essays on places and times that don't and can't exist. Maybe this isn't a genre thing, though, I don't know.

I think I'm a bit more keen on this though, I often approach my work/ideas as a historian, and I've joked that if there's one field that I'm really "SFing up," it's history and historiography not physics and cosmology.

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