Familiarity Breeds Like (and Eventually Hate)

You know when you hear a song on the radio and it’s not really amazing, but you listen to it anyway because it’s too much work to change the station? And as time goes on, you hear it more and more, and at some point you find yourself singing along, enjoying every minute of it.

And then, eventually, it reaches over-played hell and you think you might set something on fire if you have to listen to that same damn song over yet again.

While music is the most obvious example, this cycle repeats itself for every medium. Let’s look at it from a reading standpoint. You pick up a new genre. You think it’s pretty good. Not amazing, maybe, but pretty good. There’s something that resonates.

The next step? You seek out similar books. That cozy mystery really got the ol’ thinker going, so you search out more cozy mysteries. That epic fantasy – wow. What will those crazy speculative fiction writers come up with next? Or that romance you found where the main conflict is not that the two main characters spend the entire book thinking that the other hates them because they can’t hold a conversation?

You get my point.

Someone old and dead (Socrates, maybe?) once said that every story in the world has already been written. It’s not that hard to find variations on something you like. Sure, there may be the rare gem out there that stands alone, but even then there may be less shining knock-offs that scratches where it itches.

But eventually? Burnout. You’ve got the mysteries solved before the first chapter is over. The old boy meets girl story has you yawning, and if you see one more elf – especially one that distrusts dwarves – you may scream.

And then you move on to something new.

But the good news? Usually a little time away from something you used to love is all it takes to rekindle your interest again. And then you’ll be back to your favorite genre, and singing along in the car.


One response to this post.

  1. There’s a third option here: start writing your own story set in whatever genre you’re fancy’ing. Write the book you want to read!


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