Yes, I'm going to write about apple fritters today! YUM! Okay, not totally, but apple fritters play a part in this blog post today. No, I haven't been drinking.
As is my routine once or twice a week, I stop by Starbucks on the way to work, the one with the drive-thru window. Convenience. So, they know me pretty well by now since I've been stopping by for a few years. I'm on a first name basis with a few of the baristas. Yes, that's probably a bit sad. In fact, they know my voice so well that they pretty much could prepare my order without asking me what I wanted. Pretty much. Yes, there's a catch.
Lately, I've been switching up my order. My normal coffee is a Grande Cafe Mocha. Now, in the fall I love Grande Pumpkin Spice, and there's nothing better around Christmas than a Grande Peppermint Mocha. Well, lately, I've been changing things up and ordering one of the following three drinks: Grande Cafe Mocha, Grande Dark Cherry Mocha, or Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte! There is no consistency as to when or how often I order one of these drinks. I like to change things up.
This morning, it was a Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte and an apple fritter. The dude (well, manager, he's been there a while at the window) was like What, no Dark Cherry Mocha this morning? I laughed and was like Nope, like to keep you guys on your toes. His response You're messing me up, man! Then, he hands me my apple fritter and says Well, this order never changes. My response Nope, gotta have me some apple fritter.
Now, the point of this post is, that as writers we need to change things up. Yes, we can write the same story over and over and over again, change the name of the characters, the location, but in the end it's the same story over and over and over again. It gets boring after a while and a bit predictable. Who wants predictable? Okay, the baristas at Starbucks with my order, but that's a whole other story!
I don't want to write the same thing every single time. I want something new and exciting. Something . . . different, like a Dark Cherry Mocha or a Cinnamon Dolce Latte or . . . something. I don't want the same story over and over and over again.
But . . . oh, c'mon, you knew there was a but in here somewhere. No comments, Robyn!!! But, we also need an apple fritter in our writing. We need a consistency, something that doesn't change, that always stays the same, in our writing. In my Starbucks runs, the apple fritter doesn't change. I don't order any other food item. If they're out of apple fritters, I just get coffee. I'm consistent in my love of apple fritters and absolutely nothing else will do.
In my writing, I change things up by how I format each different project, how many perspectives I use, the situations, the characters, the backgrounds, and what not . . . but, I maintain a consistency of good storytelling, of delving deeply into the psyche of my characters, and, more recently by showing the different sides to a single event. I want my readers to know they can expect something consistent from me, twenty years down the road, when they're still reading my New York Times Best Selling Novel. Hey, a guy can dream! I want them also to know it's not going to be the same character over and over and over again just with a different name, a bigger waist, less hair, and perhaps a woman instead of a man.
You see, there's an author I read who did an absolutely fantastic series. About 15 years later he wrote another book. The characters were absolutely identical to the ones in the fantastic series, down to their personality quirks, and the only thing different was their names and the color of the hair.
So, change things up with your writing projects. Don't get too comfortable - not that it's a bad thing - in what you write so that the only change in each project is the name of the character rather than the character!
Have a great day. I'm off to finish my apple fritter!!