Sunday, October 22, 2006

Inside the Box


Writers are frequently advised and harassed by internet sock puppets to "think outside the box."
That advice pops up regularly, something like Jack. Sprong.
Sounds good, doesn't it?
Sounds free, adventurous, unrestricted, uncontained, wild, rowdy.
Whoo-whoo.
whoo.
Wouldn't be surprised therefore to read of someone crocheting a query letter, hoping an agency will get the hook.
Boxes, however, are not exclusively iron-bound cells, inhibitors, dimensional barriers, prisons for the intellectual genii, the wild magic.
Not just a Days Inn for Dracula.
Boxes are also repositories, reliquaries. They hold treasure, memories, gifts, surprises, danger and promise.
Look what's been done in the erotic line with Pandora's box.
Sometimes, outside is merely a mess of ribbons and wrapping. The gifts are inside.
Sometimes, like a certain stable, the inside is larger than the outside.
Sometimes writers dig out a few items and abandon the box as empty. (Yes, I'm tired of Jane Austin and Charles Dickens.)
Sometimes writers throw things back , sniff "that old thing," and wander off, scratching their behinds and wondering why the Da Vinci Code was so popular.
Pays sometimes to look inside the box.

17 comments:

Steve G said...

I read for pleasure. If it pushes me forward, I'm happy. If it doesn't, I abandon it. To be honest, I haven't given much thought to the mechanics of an entertaining story. Perhaps that's something I need to ponder as I seek to entertain others.

Sela Carsen said...

I love boxes. I like keeping them for a long time, then digging through them. It's rare I haven't found some small treasure at the bottom. Some tiny, forgotten thing that triggers a memory and leads to an idea. Old stories sometimes make for wonderful new ones when they're taken out of their box.

Erik Ivan James said...

My garage is FULL of boxes. No vehicles in there, just lots of boxes. Hmmm...I wonder...

Bernita said...

Some people do the girl in the cake really well, Steve.

Hee, I love boxes too, Sela. The mystery, the postential of what even an empty one will hold.

Bet they are full of stories, Erik!

Ric said...

Thinking outside the box - writing what you know - make it fresh - make it different - arghhh

Here I thought the BOX was a sexual reference, it is the weekend, after all.

perhaps we simply need a new box?

Digging around in the box under the bed? Scary stuff. But likely to uncover a gem or two.

Bernita said...

Ric, I threw in a sexual reference just for you...

Ric said...

Thank you from cold, gloomy Michigan and the wife, suffering from a nasty cold, leaving me to my own devices.

Bernita said...

I am sooo not going there, Ric.
Cheer up. My Erotic Writing Guide will be here a about a week.

M.E Ellis said...

Inside the box but with a different angle to the norm is also good.

:o)

Bernita said...

I hear one can find all sorts of neat things in dark corners if one doesn't Quits looking, Michelle!

sink sink socks said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EA Monroe said...

Ah, Boxes! Keepers of Memories, from which I spin the stuff of blog posts, dreams, and stories.

Bernita said...

Just crammed full of stuff, EA!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Ooh, I love boxes...especially ones that I haven't opened in ages.

Now...a box as a reliquary...hmm, I had been thinking along another line, but that just might be the appropriate container!

Bernita said...

Lots of neat ones to choose from, Bonnie!

writtenwyrdd said...

Remember when you were a kid and the box that the big appliances came in was the world's greatest toy? Man, you could have a ship, rocket ship, castle, the bat cave (our favorite)...

Re thinking and boxes, though...inside or outside, the question seems to be can you use the idea and does it make a good story?

Thinking outside the box is just a gone-tired way of saying to not let your thoughts be trapped on a single path.

Bernita said...

Oh yes, Writtenwyrdd!
My take is that, for some, "outside the box" has become the thing it sought to avoid.