On Writing Patterns

I think any writer (short story writers, in particular) starts to notice how certain patterns emerge in their own writings. I have mixed feelings on writing patterns; my aesthetic is one that thinks fiction shouldn’t follow traditional guidelines. I’m all for bending rules and mixing things up. That being said, I feel like my last 4-5 short stories are the same story, rewritten. But: I’ve never had higher productivity as a writer (excluding high school, where I wrote fanficiton in a spiral notebook instead of taking biology notes). I’ve never had more ideas hit me than in the last six months.

Is this pattern a good thing, am I finding my niche? I’ve certainly realized the sort of story that I like to “tell,” and am more confident in my voice. But I’m worried I’m churning out the standard MFA workshop literary story, with similar devices, setups, characterizations, payoffs, etc. I’ve never been about that, or have wanted to be about that. It gives me to urge to write something completely bizarre, or in Klingon, or backwards, I don’t know. I think I’ve nailed the confused twenty something who gets drunk and has sex and tries to figure out their life. Cool. Got it. Do something else. Now it’s time to explore what that something else is.

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