Posted by Angelica R. Jackson
Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination through the YA Highway site and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This week's topic: What themes, setting, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?
Ooo, what a great topic! I think it will be interesting to see how many of the universal themes crop up in all of our posts. Motifs were easy to come up with for my books: nautical references and metaphors, crows, things that are not what they initially seem, music as symbolism, etc.
For themes in my books, I thought I would need to address my two books separately, but after I thought about it, these three themes run throughout both books:
1. Forgiveness, of yourself and others.
It seems that most people have the hardest time learning to forgive themselves. Forgiveness of others is difficult enough to put into practice, and to truly mean it, but it seems like people (especially perfectionists) hold themselves to higher standards, and are therefore harder on themselves when they don't meet those standards. Or maybe that's just my characters (okay, and my younger self).
2. Finding your strengths (and they may very well be traits you considered weaknesses at one time) and deciding your own path in life.
In Spirits from the Vasty Deep, Olivia has always considered her ability to hear spirits as a curse. When a wiser person suggests that it's a gift, it's very difficult for her to wrap her mind around that concept. After all, how could something that always brought her nothing but trouble actually be a power for good?
3. What survives after death?
In Spirits from the Vasty Deep, this is an obvious question. Some of the spirits Olivia encounters become fragmented and incoherent over time, but others actually gain power from their connection to the living--sometimes enough to influence or physically affect them. As in possess them or harm them.
In Crow's Rest, the MC's boyfriend is declared brain dead and his parents are following his wishes to serve as an organ donor. Avery (MC) was always for organ donation in theory, but when it comes to Daniel suddenly it's more than a theory. Here's a tiny excerpt (and this is a WIP, so it's still a bit rough):
His organs could go to some secretive serial killer or child molester, for all I knew. Someone who looks fine and upstanding from the outside, like Dexter. Do they do background checks on organ recipients?
My anxieties shifted into overdrive now, and my brain whirred with other scenarios. How much of Daniel would still be in those parts? Would there be scraps of him or his psyche, trapped and voiceless, while some scumbag went on a crime spree? Is that what organ rejections really are—cases where a psychic echo from the donor just can’t assimilate into the new person’s life?
Whew, I had a lot to say on this topic! Hope you all stuck around for all of it. What are your recurring themes and motifs?
P.S. Check out yesterday's post for some pictures taken on our real-life road trip last week.