A few months ago I read The Book Thief and thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I loaned it to my parents to read. When they returned the book, they had mentioned they had a hard time figuring out who the narrator was. I thought this was odd as I knew right off the bat. Recently, I overheard a similar conversation about the book; that the narration was unusual. That got me thinking, why was I able to figure it out immediately, while others struggled with the first few pages?
A few weeks ago, my friend posted a link on Facebook, “20 Things Women Do That Men Probably Don’t Know About.” I chuckled my way through the list, noting that very few of those applied to me. And yet, in reading the comments, I was in the minority! The fact is, I’ve always had a tendency think outside the box. It can be a huge asset in writing, but sometimes not so much.
In a recent review of my novel, Fall of Venus, the reviewer stated that the abrupt ending suggested that I’d thrown in a random cliffhanger, just for the sake of it. That’s so far from the truth that I was left speechless. There were some plot points and character traits that I didn’t know initially and came into being through the writing process, but the ending of the book–and the end of the series, for that matter–I knew from the onset of writing it. So I was left wondering whether I should have given more clues to the ending throughout the book. After all, I try see critical reviews as a learning experience. But that brings me back to the point. Is outside thinking an asset if the majority of the population doesn’t think the same way as you?
I’ll answer my own question here. YES! There will always be people who don’t agree with you on one stance or another. Some people are just too stubborn to open their minds and some people may just think outside the box in a different way. The fact is writing, as well as art, music, and film, thrive on people who think outside the box. That’s probably why I’ve always felt comforted with a paintbrush in hand, or a book in my head.