Have you ever had one of those inside out days? You know, the kind where you walk out of the house with one black sock and one blue sock on? The kind where everything seems to go backwards or in the entirely wrong direction?
When I wrote The Wyoming Heir, I intentionally wrote my story backwards. No, that doesn't mean I began with chapter twenty something and worked my way down to chapter one. It means that when I planned the story, I went about reversing some of the usual norms for a novel.
You see, after writing my first novel, which is set during the French Revolution, I wanted to try something set in the United States. And what better way to set a novel in the US but by writing a story about a cowboy? After all, cowboys are about as American as you can get, right? But therein lay my problem. It seemed like everyone was writing a story about a cowboy. Numerous cowboys stared back at me whenever I walked down a book aisle or browsed various book lists on the web. So if I was going to write a story about a cowboy, how was I going to make it different enough to stand out?
That's when I decided to reverse my novel. Instead of having the fancy eastern woman go West where she falls in love with a rugged cowboy and gets an education as to how much fun rustic living can be, I decided to have my cowboy come East, where he gets an education about the importance of women's education (along with a few other things) and learns how much fun citified folk can be.
The Wyoming Heir turned out to be a fun story to write as I could take some elements of the classic western-era novel and completely flip them around. (For more information, I've got a book description and excerpt up on my website.)
As for the ending of the story, I won't comment one way or another about whether my cowboy and school teacher end up in Wyoming or New York. You'll have to read the book for that. ;-)
What about you? Have you ever taken a trend and intentionally bucked the norm? Did you feel a bit out of place doing so? How did your experience end up? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments below.