Books can take readers to some pretty amazing and scary places. Some we never imagined possibly existing.
We as the writer are behind that magic. We create the world for our readers to enjoy. We’ve been to the vast lands of unique characters and other beings in Lord of the Rings. We’ve followed young witches and wizards going to a magical school in the Harry Potter series. We’ve been transported back in time to read about an independent young governess in Jane Eyre.
Books have themes and are associated with the themes. Just walk into any given book store. You’ll find what you’re looking for. No matter how unique. But I dare to ask you, how unique can books get?
Have you ever considered reading books that take place in alternative timelines? I applied this idea to my book Carousel, which takes place in Lucca, Italy. Though I did not specify the time period, I described the clothing, which does vary but mostly fits the clothing worn during the late 1400’s into early 1500’s. If history has taught us anything, carousels did not exist during that time span. Therefore the story takes place in an alternative timeline. Think 1492 with working carousels.
Sounds different right? Alternative timelines have existed in other works before, some could argue that steampunk, which is a combination of the Victorian Era and technologies not discovered or used yet, fits that very description. It’s more than just, this is my time and place of my story that people have read before or heard of before. By using alternative timelines, writers are enabled to think outside of the box. Alternative timelines open more doors to more realms, grabbing more readers that may have been searching for that type of book to read.
It brings in the readers, who while reading said book, will wonder how someone could be that imaginative. They’ll be impressed and perhaps go as far as to recommend it to others looking for that tiny spice of individuality near invisible when more common literature is more widespread.
Note that alternative timelines have their pros and cons. Sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. This we have seen for example with the 2011 film Cowboys & Aliens, based on the graphic novel of the same name which received mixed reviews.
But as they say, everyone is a critic and we have to remember everyone will always have different tastes and preferences when it comes to books. If you are struggling with your first or your next novel, trying to find a perfect fit and tone, or if you just want to do something different, think differently about it. Give a new point of view.
If you haven’t thought about alternative timelines before, give it a chance and see where it takes you. You may be surprised.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
About the Author
Jennifer Renson graduated from Monmouth University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations/Journalism, with a minor in History. While attending Monmouth University, she was the Managing Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of the Monmouth Review Literary Magazine. After graduation, she began writing for Lost Treasure Magazine, covering a variety of topics, including that of Captain Kidd, The Library of Alexandria, Richard III, The Arthur Stone, The Sword of Cesare Borgia and King Tutankhamun. Fascinated by history, she’s been a volunteer archaeologist. Jennifer acquired a Masters Degree in Counselor Education, with a New Jersey State Certificate for School Counselor. Jennifer’s passion for writing continued as her poetry was published into three books: Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales, Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel and Uncharted. Her first published novel, Carousel, received 1st Place in Best Young Adult Fiction of 2015 by Urban Literary Magazine. She continues to perform at Open Mic events in New Jersey while being interviewed by a variety of online radio stations and online reviewers.