Outside the lines

coloroutsideWhile reading the number of writer’s rules out there, you find the same reason why they’re set in place; to avoid predictability in stories.  This touches upon the reasons why you don’t start with weather, or a dream sequence, or get into so much description that the action gets stifled. Its all been done before.

Agents and publishers want fresh new ideas, but nothing too outrageous. You need to offer, not just a unique story, but to also illustrate a unique Voice in your writing, a style all your own.

Many stories have been done before, but the task of a good writer is to find the fresh element that makes the story your own.

1334714339194283Vampire stories have been around for decades, but Stephanie Myers gave us glitter and romance story in the Twilight series. Vampire teen romance was already done in the The Vampire Diaries by L. J. Smith. Google ‘teen vampire novels’ and you get a hit at Goodreads for 152 books.

Overdone? Only the readers can answer that question. Its possible the teen vampire thing is now its own genre and therefore in demand. A story, nevertheless, needs to be original in some way.

Take for instance, Howling Mad by Peter David. You could say it’s a werewolf story, except it’s a wolf that gets bitten, so he turns human at the full moon. Hilarity ensues.

My point is that you can find the same type of story out there; you have to make someone about that story original, and to do that, you need to think outside the box, to color outside the lines, to think differently about the same subjects.

Some tips:

Try to think of the stories from other point of views, from other characters. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (Wicked Years) by Gregory Maguie explored the Wizard of Oz story from the witch’s son point of view.

Don’t follow the expectations. Dare to off the beaten path and explore a character that’s not a hero, or one who is a hero but disillusioned, or perhaps a romance gone awry for all the right reasons.

Be outrageous. Consider ideas, and take them further into bizarre and uncanny.

And remember “There is no boring subjects- only boring writers’” GK Chestron


One Reply to “Outside the lines”

  1. It’s so great that you posted this! I was just thinking of this the other day, right down to the “outside the lines” tagline!
    When I was little, my mother said I told her she couldn’t color in my coloring book anymore because she went outside the lines too much. She said I would sit there and count how many times I had done it so I could do better on the next picture. A lil OCD in the works…
    But I want my writing to be the exception. I don’t want to write “inside the lines” as some say I should. Because if there’s one thing I hate more than a messily colored picture it’s being told what to do. 😉


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