My WIP is giving me whiplash.

I posted on Twitter last night about how my WIP that I’ve been arguing with finally shut up and let me get some work done. I decided to try an alternative method to telling the story, which is a little unconventional, but not unheard of. I don’t want to go into the details until I figure out if it will actually work, but it did make me realize that there are very few books who tell stories in odd ways without totally ruining everything.

For instance, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a little weird to get the hang of at first. It’s easy enough to follow if you read the dates at the beginning of each chapter, but if you’re like me, they don’t really mean a whole lot. You just keep reading the chapter to find out where in the story you are. In this book, the characters may jump from childhood to adulthood in the space of a chapter, and then go back and forth days, months, or years at a time. It’s been done before, but is rarely executed well. Hats off to Erin Morgenstern for not screwing up.

Another one is The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. I’ve never read a book like this, where the pictures are literally in place of the words, and are just as important in conveying the story. Of course we’ve all seen accompanying pictures with text, but not really in place of text. It was well done, though I can’t say it was my favorite method.

Why don’t people write like this more often? Is it because it’s hard enough to get a literary agent anyway, so don’t push the boundaries of what’s acceptable? I would think that standing out in a unique way would make them more inclined to request pages, IF it’s done well that is. And your query letter would literally have to knock their socks off to get them on board that train.

It fills me with both excitement and trepidation at what I’m hoping to achieve with my own WIP. On one hand, it’s a completely new undertaking for me, and will be fun to write, regardless of whether it works. But on the other hand, I HATE feeling like I wasted my time (even if, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a waste), so I’m pretty terrified.

But hey, what is writing if not equal parts terror and excitement?

What’s unique about your WIP (besides just the plot)? How do you go about writing in a “new” way?

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