Thinking Outside The Box
When you're a writer, you have to problem solve at times. Depending on your genre, depends on what problems you have to solve. The fact that every story must have some plot, something you're trying to work through. Be that angst, romance, hurt/comfort, fluff, I could go on, but I won't because you know what I'm talking about. Once you have your plot, then you add sub-plots, all of which I've spoken about before (found here).
What separates a story for being okay to being good is how you get from the beginning to the middle to the end. It's how you solve those problems and to do that, you need to think outside the box. You need to not use a trope that has been used a thousand times before and you need to find a way, that yes, may have been used once or twice or even a few hundred times, BUT still has a twist of your own on it.
It's not an easy thing to achieve. In fact, sometimes it's down right impossible, but that's a part of the job. If you hang around on places like Tumblr or Livejournal, Facebook or even Twitter, you'll probably be aware of writing communities, tags, hash tags and all the other things. One thing they will all say are that research is something essential to a good piece of writing. I've spoken about this before (found here) and I'll say it again. You can NEVER do TOO MUCH research. It's time consuming, but it's so worth it. Some writer's love that part of the job more than others. I'm not one of them, but still it HAS to be done.
Part of research is checking that the facts you are given are true. That can be done by either checking with a different website, or with someone who knows this stuff...or even trying it out for yourself. Here's an example. In my fifth Dying Thoughts book, I have Tara tied to a chair with cable ties. I thought about whether or not she could escape and then in the end, I found a video on YouTube (posted on Tumblr) detailing how a person bound with cable ties could break free. I have yet to test it, but my carer has been kind enough to give it a go. She's about the same build and height as Tara so it should give me some idea. That's just an example of how you can check your facts.
Back to the thinking outside the box. I am sure that there have been a few thousand stories where people have escaped from the situation I have placed Tara in. I'm sure that the way the scene is written, can also be something repeated over and over. The key to a good writer, is to make it seem that you, the reader, HAVEN'T read this scene somewhere else. You achieve that by thinking about the way it is usually presented and adding your own flair, words, signature if you will. Just as an artist would do with a painting of Van Gogh's Night Sky. The idea is to NOT copy directly (plagiarism is bad!) but to add something that makes your scene unique. Something that people will read and class as your take on it. That's what you're going for and that's what it means to think outside the box.
So, go forth and make your own masterpieces. Who knows, maybe one day people in English Literature classes will be tearing your book to pieces to find it's hidden meaning :D
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