Friday, April 21, 2017

Thinking Outside the Box

What does "thinking outside the box" mean to you as a writer? 

For me, it means telling "my" story and not trying to follow genres that are trending right now. Trends change and are cyclical like the tides of the wind.

Using creative ideas to not only tell the story but also to market and sell the story.  Finding new ways to get "buzz" going about your book.

An Example:

I was recently asked by the local library to facilitation a book discussion in honor of the anniversary of the Chisholm trail. The book was "The Log of the Cowboy." I grew up on western books and films so I said YES. For the past couple of weeks, I read this fictionalized journal, learning new expressions and factoids about history that surprised and amazed me. 

When I went to conduct the discussion I had pages of notes and questions that I thought would be interesting and stimulate discussion. It was a blast. Our hour discussion turned into 90 minutes and the attendees stayed after to continue talking about not only cowboys but getting to know me and what I write. 

Although I don't write westerns, the relationships of the drovers with each other, their horses and their foreman compares to a big boisterous family. Cowboys are characters that are natural born storytellers and love to weave tall tails over the campfire. 

This is definitely out of the women's fiction, romantic suspense box I've been writing in. I loved the experience and may also have gained a handful of new readers. I've also been asked to conduct another book discussion at one of the local churches on the same subject. 

By being open to a new venue to speak and a new subject to discuss I exposed new readers to history, new ideas, and me as an author.
Interestingly enough I just read an article about the lost art of designing the book spine by Chronical Books, which really illustrates a great way to "think outside the box". These folks had some very creative ideas besides just name and title. The use of color and photographs with textures and different typefaces - well, you have to see the excellent examples they shared.

As you move through your author's journey look for things that stimulate interest in yourself and in others. Notice the unusual and think beyond the surface. Is this something that can translate to your writing or marketing?

There's a line in the movie Avatar that the natives use, "I see you." It means more than seeing with the eyes, it means seeing with the heart. That's something creative people need to cultivate.

Best wishes to all of you on your writing journey.
 Amazon Author Page


Jacqueline Seewald said...


A great post! I hope you publicize it so that more writers see it.

I agree with you about not following trends. Publishing trends turn on a dime. It's better for us to write what really moves us.

I don't stick with any one genre. By varying writing, I believe authors keep their brains creative and sharp. It's good to step out of our comfort zone and try new things. I notice you mention Western writing.

I wrote THE KILLING LAND which is the last of my novels that Five Star published. I loved writing it and doing research. And yes, it was writing out of the box for me.

Bonnie Tharp said...

Hi Jacqui -

Thanks for the post. I'm traveling this weekend, so I haven't been able to publicize much.

Best regards,

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Enjoy your travels! It's the perfect time of year for it.