Most writers seem to have a bag of tricks.
I remember reading Louis L'Amour the first time and thinking, "Hey, I really like this." Then reading three or four books and realizing he was repeating characters, scenes and plots. Oops.
I'm rereading the Travis McGee mysteries by John D. McDonald, and already by the fourth book he's repeating motifs. (Especially women. Wow. So patronizing.)
I all but stopped reading heroic fantasy because it seemed nearly impossible to come up with anything new.
Anyway, I've been planning the next book, and dang if it doesn't seem to include a whole bunch of elements from previous ideas. That is, I seem to have a general tendency -- things that appeal to me.
My bag of tricks.
I'm not sure whether to refine my bag of tricks, or mix them up and toss them in the air and see if I can't come up with something new.
3 hours ago