Welcome to Writer Unboxed
If you’re here, chances are you’re a writer. If you’re a writer having a hard time coming up with fresh ideas, then chances are you’re boxed. Outside of the box are your best concepts, intriguing story solutions and eventually publication. Don’t believe us? Stick around; we’re here to prove you wrong and make you successful.
So who are we? We’re nonfiction writers and aspiring novelists. Though our WIP’s are women’s fiction, we love all genre fiction. Our definition of genre fiction includes mystery, romance, SFF, women’s fiction, children’s and YA, suspense, thrillers . . . in short, the stuff that sells.
We thought we’d inaugurate the blog with some convenient FAQ to answer the many questions now roiling your brain.
Why the focus on genre fiction?
Genre fiction accounts for 98% of the marketplace.
OK, we made that up, but it’s inarguably the biggest slice of the publishing pie. Most aspiring novelists squirm when they admit to liking and writing genre fiction, but we are loud and proud when we proclaim our love for all things commercial. It’s what interests us the most, and interests most of the reading public.
What have you got against literary fiction?
What is literary fiction anyway? Usually it is posed as an opposite for "commercial", and so commercial fiction is what sells in large numbers, and literary fiction is what doesn't sell. But this ignores the fact that most fiction that is written to a formula, for a mass audience, does not sell any more than non-formula fiction. Your average Australian thriller or chick-lit novel sells no more than a work of literary fiction. And sometimes, as in the case of Tim Winton, non-generic fiction sells in large quantities. We are confused because we have no viable working definition for what is "literary.”
So what are you going to do, exactly?
Our goal is to offer writers of genre fiction a little inspiration to help get ideas flowing again. (We could’ve called the blog, “Writer Unconstipated,” but the imagery wouldn’t have been nearly so appealing.) We’ll get things flowing for you by blogging about technique, but we’re not restricting ourselves to the world of literature; you’ll be hearing about art, music, movies…wherever we think there’s a nugget of writerly gold to steal, we’ll tell you about it.
Do you do book reviews?
No. There are a ton of blogs out there that already do that with way more élan than we can muster. But we will discuss scenes from authors who bust the box, and we reserve the right to gush over a book that’s particularly good.
How did WU get started?
It all started when the editor of an industry magazine had the temerity to pass on a proposal we pitched. Not that we’re unused to rejection, but it was kickass. We’d previously co-authored an article with another writer buddy about writing that was well-received, but we’d left a ton of info out in the editing process. Our critiquing sessions also lean toward finding ways out of literary dead-ends—THE BOX, as we call it—by plucking inspiration from pop culture and other mediums. We realized that a blog was the best way for us to organize our thoughts and share our knowledge with other writers who need a dose of inspiration or another way of looking at their work.
What makes either of you qualified to render advice to writers of genre fiction? You’re not published.
It is, alas, true. We’re not published authors of fiction. Chances are, neither are you. Nah nah! But seriously, we’re both people who get paid to write. Teri is a successful freelancer, and Kathleen edits a magazine and writes feature articles. Since we’ve both been slogging in the fiction arena for a long time, we’ve accumulated years of craft insights that we can share with others. And why shouldn’t we? We love to read unboxed novels almost as much as we love to write them (see our list of “Must Reads”), and we can’t write them all ourselves. Please write a few, then tell us all about it.
We'll see you back here regularly. 'Til then, write on.