What It Takes: Curiosity

Blog Post 57 What It Takes Curiosity“Curiosity killed the cat.”  We’ve all heard that expression before because this trait in our feline friends can lead them straight into trouble.  It’s almost like curiosity drives them to explore the world around them.

So it should be with the writer.  We who write, be it in the non-fiction or fiction world, also must have curiosity.  Without it, our writing becomes dull and flat, almost like we’re living in two dimensions rather than three, and in a world without color, sound, taste, touch, or inhabited with people.

How does curiosity play into writing?

It drives the idea factory.  As a novelist, one thing I always need is an idea.  When a possibility comes to mind, I mull it over.  Many times, nothing happens to it.  Sometimes, the idea germinates, and the plot and characters for a novel are born.

It inspires the writing.  Curiosity makes the writer explore everything related to a novel, such as the way the characters act, the way the plot unfolds, and the way that the characters see the setting.  Taking an interest in everything related to the novel gives it authenticity not otherwise achieved.

It helps in marketing.  I’ve decided that marketing is all about figuring out which methods of getting the word out works best for the writer.  It takes curiosity mixed with tenacity for a writer to stick with it and figure out which marketing methods work best.

How do you stoke that curiosity?  Here are five ways I’ve discovered can fire the curiosity:

  1. Be an observer. Have an insatiable interest in what’s going on in the world. Become an observer of it. If something piques your attention, ask questions. It can be as elaborate as, “How does a sniper train for his job?” to as mundane as, “How do you get from Point A to Point B?” Taking these observations and weaving them into a novel gives it authenticity.
  2. Capture ideas. I’m in the process of reading a book on setting and description. While I’ve barely started it, one suggestion the author had captured my attention. Keep little notebooks everywhere and then a big, loose leaf notebook. When something comes to mind, be it a bit of dialogue, a character or something you see, write it down in those little notebooks. Then transfer it to the big one, which should have dividers for what you capture. I was a doubter, but after only a week, I’m not. Don’t think you’ll remember. Write it down instead
  3. Let your characters lead you. Sometimes, your characters get their own minds and go in a way you didn’t anticipate. That’s okay. Let them. It’ll make your novel stronger in the end.
  4. Learn the production process. It’s easy, especially if you’re an author with a traditional publishing contract, to put everything on autopilot. With indie writers, no so much. Take your curiosity to a writer’s conference. Learn the ins and outs of the business, and learn more about the craft.
  5. Figure out the marketing. This is a tough one, but it’s one we’ve got to work at, even if you have a contract with a traditional publisher. Brainstorm. Think of different marketing ideas. Be curious Try new things. If one thing doesn’t work, that’s okay. Try something else until you find success.

We know that curiosity didn’t kill the cat.  As for the writer?  May curiosity be one of your best qualities as you work on your book.

This post does not mention any products.  Therefore, I am not receiving any compensation for writing this post.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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