When it comes to reading there are few things that irk me more than when the author is repeating themself. Highest degree of annoyance is invoked with the reuse of phrases or words, but I guess themes are included too. Phrases and themes are just different levels of the same perceived problem; that the author can’t express themself without rehashing old things.
It should not come as a surprise that I do the same thing myself. When it comes to the low-level, technical aspect, I like to think I can avoid most repeats (at least in Swedish) but when it comes to ideas and themes I’m just as bad as those I frown upon. Most of my ideas seem to revolve around one or more of the following:
- Clarke’s third law; normally this is for when “higher” and “lower” cultures meet, but I find much more intriguing the idea of a society feeling that awe before its own technology
- Identity; what it is, where it begins and ends, hiveminds, distribution of self, emergence of autonomous behaviour etc.
- Simulated or semi-simulated worlds (at what degree does augmented reality stop being just augmented and start being reality-inspired simulation?)
- Religion and gods in a severely changed world, be it post-singularity, post-apocalyptic or just sufficiently more advanced
- Old words meaning new things
My current… erm… project (such an ugly word!) incorporates each of the above. In light of this my recent worry that the finished thing will be too brief feels slightly paradoxical but no less true.
Every day I tell myself this is the day I start actually writing the damn thing but I never do. It’s a mixture of nonexistent self-discipline, fear of failure and not being sure what angle to attack from. The failure and angle parts are mostly due to my never having tried writing anything on this scale before. To remedy this, I’ve considered thinking of each chapter as a short-story, since I can deal with that scale, and putting several next to each other might fool some casual observer into thinking it’s a proper novel.