I’ve been thinking about patterns in writing by certain authors lately and wonder if other readers notice them or care one way or the other about them. For instance, I read several of Maggie Osborne’s books in the last year. They’re great. However, the ones I read also had a clear pattern of one guy torn between two women. Several other romance authors do the same kind of thing (different pattern, but pattern). Since none of them are coming to my mind right now – my favorite author of all time is Dick Francis, who wrote suspense/mystery. I reread my favorites of his books every few years and the pattern there is stoic hero who prevails over a villain who tries to force him to do or not do something by hurting him (a lot) and succeeds enough to prove how stoic the hero is. It wasn’t until I read several of his books in a row many years ago that the pattern jumped out at me. Reading them one at a time I love them, but reading some particular ones in a row gives me an uncomfortable s/m flavor.
Right now I find myself thinking about this a lot, probably because I worry about it in my own books. I’ve already mentioned that I’m never going to be able to do warm and fuzzy families worth a darn, but I sure don’t want majorly dysfunctional families to leap out of every book. I also wonder about the same thing on a more micro level. Right now I’m working on my second dog mystery. In the first, I described one of the heroine’s dogs as “velcroing” itself to her. Several people have remarked in emails or reviews that they thought that was a good description. I caught myself using it again in this second book. So is it okay and a description of this one dog’s behavior that can be carried throughout the series? Or is it aggravating repetition? It’s a fine line, and I haven’t decided where to draw it.