Friday, April 27, 2012

Outside the box

As a designer, I have to constantly come up with things for clients--space plans, color schemes, accessory designs. I have to keep trying different things to please the customer. Thinking outside the box can be hard. It's leaving the comfort of our warm bubble and stepping into foreign territory. Sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone and think of things that we would never dream of. Even if it's when you get stuck. Like right now, I'm writing this post and I'm trying to figure out how to say what I want to say. As writers, we are constantly pushing ourselves to come up with something that's different or totally new. 

I've been told I'm a good brainstormer. Really, I like to make things up. My mind is constantly on. It doesn't stop. Yes, sometimes, it's hard to go to sleep and I have more ideas than I have time. I'm finally at a point where it's not overwhelming and I'm actually able to focus on one at a time. It's a continuous cycle of thinking outside the box.

How do I do this? It's simple really and some of you may already do it. Ask yourself questions. Yeah, you heard me. Questions. The main one I ask is What if? What if this story took place in another dimension? What if my character was boy instead of a girl? What if the box the girl got for her birthday was magical and transported her to another time? What if she had blue eyes instead of brown?

See what I'm getting at. If you start asking questions, things may become clear or help add an element of a story you may have never thought of. You can do this at any point of your progress--brainstorming, first draft, revisions--whenever. Of course, you have to know when to stop otherwise you will ask yourself questions till the world ends, and nothing will get accomplished.This is sometimes the hard part, but I think if you follow your gut you will know what works and what doesn't.

So take a part of your story where you are stuck and ask it questions. You might be surprised by the answers.

Do you think outside the box?

**Go check out the cover of K.M. Walton's EMPTY to be released January 2013. There's a contest too. It ends May 4th.

Have a great weekend!


  1. Great points. Asking questions as I write, making myself see a scene through different eyes or in an altered way, always helps me improve a scene.

  2. I'm always asking myself questions when I write, and I have a page during each draft for brainstorming.

    I love CRACKED. I'm off to check out the cover for EMPTY. I've heard that book is even better than CRACKED, not that I can see how that's possible. :)

  3. Believe it or not, I've never done that, because I WILL ask myself questions until the end of time. Have a great weekend.

  4. my friend told me that to get unstuck, write down 20 things that could happen and then pick one. i like your idea too. thanks.

  5. yes I think once we realize we CAN think outside the box, it opens up a new world for us.

  6. it took a lot of what if's to come up with my current outline.

  7. I'm definitely a fan of the "What If?" question. Most, if not all, of my novel ideas have come from that question. :)

  8. Yay for brainstorming! It's so fun because you can't ever make mistakes!

  9. Today I was looking ahead in my WIP and facing the fact that an upcoming planned event made no sense at all. It didn't match up with the story events already written, and in fact I didn't see how I could pull it off.

    Then, while walking the dog in the park, it occurred to me that I had something backwards. If I reversed a certain situation, my event became possible and suddenly made sense.

    So, yes, step outside the box, and sometimes turn it inside-out!