Thinking outside the square

The RWAus conference is next week and as usual my biggest concern is what to wear to the fancy dress cocktail party. Yep, I’m that girl. LOL. I spent all of last week racking my brain for an idea, but finding something to fit the Nautical theme was really hard. Especially when I looked online and everything seemed so skimpy and playboy bunny-like. I sure don’t have the extrovert nature to pull off those type of costumes. All of the typical costumes came to mind; sailor, pirate, mermaid. But I wanted to be a little different. I really wanted to think outside the square. After asking a few friends for suggestions, I set to work trawling through online costume sites and I found this.

Popeye the sailor man. Toot, toot!

I so, so, so wanted to go as Popeye. How freaking cool would that be! It was perfect, I bet no one goes as Popeye, maybe Olive Oyl but not Popeye. Alas, the retailer wanted a small fortune for the costume and I don’t possess a small fortune. Don’t worry though, I found the perfect costume. It’s outside of the typical nautical square, but still within the theme. I can’t wait for you all to see it on Friday 16th at Freo.

Trying to find the perfect costume got me to thinking about the perfect story. The story that stands out from the crowd. I’ve heard many authors, and non authors too ask what makes a book The Next Big Thing. You know, the book that rushes to the top of the NYT bestseller list, elbowing all the others out of it’s way.  It might not have perfectly crafted words, it might not be written by a multi-published author, but then it could well be. Who knows? Do you know what I think? I think stories like  Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, 50 Shades of Grey,  those books that skyrocket through the rankings do so because they are outside the square. Sure their authors and publishers are probably also holding the faces in the exact right expression as well.

Let me show you what I mean. Harry Potter was the first book for kids that weren’t quiet little kids, nor were they teens that was new and exciting and adventurous. In touching on an urban fantasy world, HP opened up a whole new market, Middle Grade. JK Rowling thought outside the square. Twilight did the same thing for Young Adult and doubled for paranormal romance too. There hadn’t been a vampire story in so long! And YA wasn’t even a thing, sure there were books with teen main characters, but they didn’t encompass YA. 50 Shades … well we all know what market that opened up. 😉 Yes, erotic fiction was around before 50 Shades, I think part of E.L James’ success was due to timing of e-publishing.

So should we all drop whatever manuscript we’re working on to write a left of center story in the hope it will be The Next Big Thing? Hell no, I’m not. That would never work, my muse dictates what I write, I have like no say in what flows from my fingers. Authors should write what they love to write. Only the gods know the facial expression you have to pull to create a best seller.

That’s my opinion anyway. I’d love to hear yours.

Stacey Nash


Stacey Nash is a writer of Young Adult Fiction in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. Her debut novel, Forget Me Not will be out next February with Entranced Publishing. You can catch Stacey on twitter, facebook or at her website.


8 thoughts on “Thinking outside the square

  1. Great post, Stacey. Popeye is fantastic, I would have enjoyed seeing you in that getup. I look forward to seeing what you came up with.
    Let’s hope our muses lead us in the right direction and in the meantime, I’m working on my facial expressions.

  2. I’m a great believer in writing what fires your passion because I feel it will flow thru onto the page. While it might not suit the current market, as we all know, with the advent of e-books the market changes so fast. You never know when that special book you wrote will tick all the required boxes. That’s my 2 cents for what its worth :).
    I’m thinking : spongebob squarepants ????? That’s square – lol.
    a zombie pirate?
    A pelican?
    Cant wait until the big reveal!

  3. I was thinking of Popeye as well! At this stage I don’t have anything – might be boardies and a t-shirt for me 🙂

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