When you pick up your pen, or re-angle your keyboard, do you ever consider the way in which you will write, or just what you will write? Just as\u00a0important as choosing the best narrator and setting for your narrative, is consciously deciding the form, structure and style of your writing.\r\n\r\nThe options are endless. Perhaps\u00a0your narrator talks to the reader. Maybe the plot doesn\u2019t follow the rules of time. What if\u00a0your prose is poetic, or images weave around your text? Perhaps\u00a0the chapters are numbered with prime numbers. The following nine books will\u00a0spark your imagination for alternative ways to write, and how those ways can enrich a\u00a0story...\r\n1.\u00a0\u00a0 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak\r\nAn unexpected narrator...\r\n\r\nYou\u2019re probably familiar with a number\u00a0books that offer\u00a0first person narration which isn't via the main character,\u00a0think:\u00a0The Great Gatsby\u00a0and\u00a0Sherlock Holmes. In\u00a0The Book Theif,\u00a0the first person narration\u00a0isn't through the eyes of\u00a0the protagonist, Liesel either. Australian author Zusak\u2019s narrator isn\u2019t even human\u2014it\u2019s Death.\r\n\r\n\u00a0We will travel a little, to a secret storage room, and we will see what we see.\r\n~\u00a0A Guided Tour Of Suffering \u009b~\r\nTo your left, perhaps your right,\r\nperhaps even straight ahead,\r\nyou find a small black room.\r\nIn it sits a Jew.\r\nHe is scum. He is starving.\r\nHe is afraid.\r\nPlease \u2013 try not to look away.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis unusual narrator addresses the reader directly as he explains the life of Liesel and WWII, drawing us into the events that happened decades ago. Death also interrupts his narration with bold, centred segments that include translations, historical events, his opinions or key points he wants to highlight. This can be jarring for the reader, but amidst all the holocaust novels now available, a novel\u00a0that really makes you feel uncomfortable again about the horror is one worth holding on to.\r\n2.\u00a0\u00a0 The Time Traveler\u2019s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger\r\nAn excerpt from 'The Time Traveler's Wife'...\r\n\r\nNiffenegger\u2019s book doesn\u2019t follow a chronological structure or pattern. It starts with a series of \u201cfirsts\u201d: Henry\u2019s first time meeting Clare, Henry\u2019s first time time-travelling and Clare\u2019s first time meeting Henry.\u00a0We then follow Clare growing up with future-Henry visiting her before she meets him in the present and is still visited by the future- and sometimes past-Henry. Amidst this, however, the story may follow Henry returning to his present, or see a younger Henry sharing Clare\u2019s present time elsewhere or Henry tutoring his child-self.\r\n\r\nThe erratic timeline carries Henry\u2019s feelings of confusion at being tossed around by time, and Clare\u2019s frustration at trying to keep up with him. It also creates a sense of suspense: what happened in the future to make Henry unhappy, and what did Henry\u2019s future self do in the past to bring about present events?\r\n3.\u00a0\u00a0 What Does Blue Feel Like? by Jessica Davidson\r\nThis story of teenage chaos comes to life through its verse novel form. Teenagers and sufferers of depression often feel empty and trapped in a cycle of unwanted events; Australian author Davidson portrays this through the pages\u2019 white space, and the rhythm of the prose.\r\nI\u2019m sitting in a lazy circle,\r\nplaying drinking games,\r\ngetting drunk\r\ndrunker\r\ndrunkerer.\u201d\r\nWhile the use of free verse with few poetic techniques allows Davidson to touch on the rawness of youth, verse novels can also be more poetic. Both prose writers and poets can write amazing books through this form, which borrows narrative structure from prose and techniques from poetry.\r\n4.\u00a0\u00a0 Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer\r\nA unique take on the classic fairy tale...\r\n\r\nFor those familiar with Picoult\u2019s work, this YA novel she co-authored with her daughter is quite different. It is a sweet, dreamy teenage love story between a high school girl, and a prince trying to escape from the pages of his fairytale.\r\n\r\nWhat\u2019s really unique about this book are the pictures. The book echoes those marvellous (usually old) collections of fairytales with carefully rendered full-page images. Small, simple illustrations also sit in and around the text of the novel: the fairytale bleeding into the real world. Not only are they pleasurable to behold, they enhance the story\u2019s content. Who said pictures were only for children\u2019s books?\r\n5. \u00a0 The\u00a0Hitchhicker\u2019s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams\r\nThe meaning of life...\r\n\r\nOmniscient narrators usually focus on the characters or story, elaborating further only when a reader is unlikely to be familiar with an object or concept. Adams' sci-fi book seems to speak not only to humans, but to any intelligent life form that happens to pick it up.\r\nBypasses are devices which allow some people to dash from point A to point B very fast whilst other people dash from point B to point A very fast.\u201d\r\nThese \u201cunnecessary\u201d explanations (assuming only humans read this book) create a sense that Earth is as alien as Betelgeuse, and the rest of the universe. This also makes reasonable the assumption that towels could have starkly different and complicated cultural meanings across space.\r\n6.\u00a0\u00a0 Blood Red Road by Moria Young\r\nIn Young\u2019s dystopia YA novel, quotation marks have perished along with today\u2019s society. This can seem confronting, but author Cyan Jones finds it \u201cmore immediate, more with it\u201d. Fitting with the narrator\u2019s lack of education, incorrect spelling is littered through dialogue and narrative.\r\nGo on then, if you know so much, tell me what happens when you die.\r\n\r\nI dunno. He sighs and flops back on the ground, squintin at the sky. You jest\u2026 stop. Yer heart don\u2019t beat no more, you don\u2019t breathe an then yer jest\u2026 gone.\u201d\r\nNot only do these intentional mistakes create a big impact and make the reader sit-up, but what better way to write a dystopian novel than to break a few rules along the way?\r\n7.\u00a0\u00a0 Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart\r\nShteyngart\u2019s book examines the modern world: social media, death and the absurd rate of technology. Along with the story\u2019s content, these themes are artfully woven in through the book\u2019s epistolary form. A stark contrast is created from the alternating chapters of 39-year-old Lenny\u2019s long-winded diary entries, and of 24-year-old Eunice\u2019s emails and instant messages.\r\n\r\nWe learn more of Lenny's inner self than of Eunice's due to the privateness of diary entries. This strengthens the idea in the novel that new technology makes us shallow, and that only when Eunice meets the book-loving Lenny can she have full, real experiences such as falling in love.\r\n8.\u00a0\u00a0 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Hodden\r\nThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time...\r\n\r\nFew books reflect the narrating character as well as this one. 15-year-old Christopher, arguably a budding maths genius, isn\u2019t so good when it comes to people or metaphors. He\u2019s also not someone who would write a novel; hence the book is an exercise set by his teacher.\r\nChapters in books are usually given the cardinal numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and so on. But I have decided to give my chapters prime numbers 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13 and so on because I like prime numbers.\u201d\r\nIn addition to Christopher\u2019s character determining chapter numbering, the book is littered with diagrams and figures. In reading you learn how to find prime numbers, the reason the Milky Way looks like a line in the night sky and the mathematical reason for the change in population density in his school\u2019s frog pond. If a narrator calls for it, there is no limit to how you can write.\r\n9.\u00a0\u00a0 Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo\r\nNovels are fiction\u2014or are they? Boo lived in a Mumbai slum for three and a half years to write her book. Despite being factual, the book has a narrative arc, central themes and uses fiction novel techniques such as\u00a0revealing character thoughts and foreshadowing events to create suspense. And sometimes fact is more compelling than fiction. In the Chicago Tribune, Jessica Gelt said:\r\nThe end product is a richly detailed tapestry of tragedy and triumph told by a seemingly omniscient narrator with an attention to detail that reads like fiction while in possession of the urgent humanity of nonfiction.\u201d\r\nThe key differences between fiction and non-fiction are where you get your information, and how you use it. Other works, notably several memoirs, blur the fiction-fact line further, questioning whether subjective experience can be fact, and whether metaphors to explain experiences can be taken as reality.\r\n* * *\r\nWith all this being said, it's important to note that more conventional ways of writing are not inferior. If an unusual way of writing doesn\u2019t add to value of your story, it likely distracts\u2014and detracts\u2014from your\u00a0story.\r\n\r\nSometimes the way a book should be\u00a0written leaps out at you, but other times it's worth sitting down and considering what would happen to your story if you changed the way you wrote it. You may discover an angle or a part of the story you hadn\u2019t noticed before.\r\n\r\nOf course, there are more than nine unconventional books and ways to write, so never stop experimenting and reading broadly. Happy writing!