Do You Color Outside the Lines?

This Week In Writing, we explore taking our writing to places the reader doesn’t expect, like in the film Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Do You Color Outside the Lines?
Source: A24

Storytelling can be very formulaic. There isn’t anything wrong with a quality framework because they tend to work. Consider the Hero’s Journey, which has inspired countless stories over the years. However, there’s something to be said for choosing to color outside the lines and take people to unexpected places.

I recently watched the film Everything Everywhere All At Once. It’s a brilliant piece of storytelling that takes the viewer to places they can’t possibly expect. Without giving too much away, the film begins with multiple family-dynamic conflicts and quickly jumps well outside the expected lines.

Taking readers (or, in this case, viewers) to unexpected places elevates the story in ways that are hard to describe. It’s an elevated type of storytelling. However, coloring outside the lines is risky because the formulas are expected and work. Choosing to go elsewhere can either land exceptionally well, like with Everything Everywhere All At Once, or they can fall flat and leave the reader confused. That said, choosing to break the mold is always encouraged. Take your writing to new levels and invite the reader along for the ride.

Do you color outside the lines with your writing? What works and what doesn’t?Hit reply and let me know.

A version of this article also appeared on Medium.