A few weeks ago, I attended the one-day conference of the East Texas Writers Guild, and after a day focused on writing, I still had writing on my mind during the 45 minute drive home. Driving along, I thought about all the stories I’ve written and about the new one I’m planning.
Then I had one of those light-bulb moments, an insight into my own writing that literally caused me to gasp. (I didn’t go so far as to yell “Eureka!”)
You know how they say all first novels are autobiographical? Well, I’m sure it’s true. I know my first two novels used a lot of details from my own life and background, even though they were very different stories. But as I thought about the other four novels I’ve written, I realized something rather startling: they all share a common theme.
Now please understand, they are all very different stories. Each story has many themes. But there is one theme that runs through them all and I never recognized it before. All six of my novel-length stories feature a character who must at some point choose between two worlds. All of them.
Huh. How do you suppose that theme managed to sneak into all the stories written by a missionary kid who identified more strongly with her “new” world than she did with her “home” world? And yes, the new story I’m planning, which will have a five-book arc, will also end up with the main character having to make that same choice.
I’m not even sorry. Clearly, this is such an ingrained part of me as a person that I can’t write without referring to it. It’s kind of amusing I never noticed it before now.