Thursday, February 14, 2013

Q/A: Thinking Outside of the Box

Q: How do I make a book people want to read?

Think outside of the box, duh! Readers had seen and heard everything. Even though you may be writing in a genre that they are well read in, add a new element that they weren't expecting.

I, like most of you out there, have a nook and look for freebies. I use the free books or short stories to judge whether I want to continue reading the author's work. Since the shift to ebooks, I tend to read more indie authors like myself. While I love authors that appreciate grammar, I am not the grammar police because I know how hard it is to spot a mistake in a sea of words. Indie authors don't have a publisher telling them to play it safe. I like indie books, because I find they are more willing to take risks in plot and character. It is safe to say that the story means the most to me. I read to escape from reality. I want to be the main character. I want to live in another world, and I want the book I read to take me there.

I have had people read my stories and tell me they are just too weird for them. They didn't like them. They didn't get where I was going with the plot. However, I rather be weird and try something new than stick to the same formula that is safe. It has been done. How many books out there follow the same Twilight recipe? Let me answer that...hundreds. It is time to unleash your imagination. I have read some pretty interesting indie books that are in keeping with the think outside of the box attitude.

Example #1: Elemental by Alexandra May
Overall, I found this book quite entertaining. I liked the feel of it. An old large manor.... A grandmother who is mysterious.... An abandoned main character.... Two interesting love interests. It all made for an interesting read. The main character, Rose, is human but harbors something otherworldly within. It is a premise I haven't read a hundred times. The author also makes the unique plot believable. The love interest, Aidan, was character fasinated me because he struggled between what was expected of him and his own wants which is something we all can relate to on some level. I would have liked to see more of a struggle between his good and bad side, but part two is on the way so the author may explore that a bit more.

Example #2: Insight by Jamie Magee
While I did enjoy the book, I just felt like there were a lot of confusing plot concepts. However, I enjoyed the dynamic between Willow, Landen, and Drake. I found it intriguing how she was drawn to Drake, and I loved the romance between Willow and Landen. It was a little redundant with the picking up and dropping off of Willow's friends. The plot could have been more subtle, but the overdramatic elements were enjoyable. This book can be information overload, but overall, it is a book worth reading.

Example #3: Grey Eyes by Brandon Alston
This ebook is definitely out of the box. I liked the portrayals of the characters. They were realistic and relatable. However, I thought the plot could be a little more subtle.  There were a lot of concepts. There was magic, angels, vampires, royal gatherings, Russian history, etc. I think only one or two of these was necessary. The love triangle was interesting at first, but when the main character made her choice, she couldn't stick with her choice. She was back and forth even to the end. It was just to much, and after a while, it just dragged on. Overall, an interesting read.

Each of these stories made me want to read more. The characters, although complicated, were realistic in so many ways. How can a witch or alien be realistic? It is all in the way you write them up. Anything can be believable in a book. If you have the power to suck readers into a story, then you have the ability to convince them that this world you created is real and they can join you. I may not have liked each story equally, but they gave me something to think about as I read them which is the biggest reward.