Sometimes, creativity works best when it’s confined by rules, like a haiku. And for me, the more oddball the rules, the better.
Here’s an example.
I’d decided that the Wits’ End novel I was working on next would include a Bigfoot subplot. (Long story as to why). Then I realized I’d also planned for it to be a Christmas novel. Okay, Bigfoot + Christmas. Wasn’t sure how I’d make that work, but something would come up.
Then I started struggling with a title. I’d begun riffing off titles of sci-fi movies for the Wits’ End series, since it’s set in a UFO-themed B&B. But I could only find one holiday sci-fi movie, and the title just… couldn’t be turned into a Wits’ End title. So I looked at other holiday movie titles, and I realized Home Alone could be turned to Gnome Alone. So now I had to add gnomes to the Bigfoot/Christmas mix. And of course a murder, because these are cozy mysteries.
It ended up being one of the most fun books I’ve ever written. It turned out there was a way to connect gnomes to Bigfoot, Christmas, and murder. And once I figured out how, the whole story unfolded delightfully.
I feel a little ashamed to admit that most of my oddball restrictions stem from great titles that have to be woven into the story. But it works.
Rules are like seasons,
If we find their joy we thrive,
In sun, snow, or rain.