Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Comfort Zones

I don't know about you, but I like my comfort zone.  It's comfortable. Actually, it's warm, snug and while I don't mind the occasional excursion close to the edge of that comfort zone, I'm generally not one for change or experimenting.  For example, I am not one to experiment with different foods.  Not at all, in fact if I don't know what's in it, I won't eat it and I don't care to try new things very often.  It's just not something I do.

But, when it comes to writing, I'm quite a bit more experimental.  I like challenges that push my writing comfort zone.  Normally I write fantasy (usually with dragons) and mystery.  I've played with science fiction, pushed the mystery envelope with a gangster piece that I had to do research for and even gave romance a try.

One genre I thought I'd never try though was horror.  However a couple weeks ago, I was given the challenge to write a Valentine's Day story that wasn't the usual hearts & roses, that was "out of the box."
After some joking, I ended up writing a zombie romance piece.  And honestly, I'm really surprised at the really great feedback I've gotten from those who've seen it.

My latest challenge arrived just the other night from a friend.  A steampunk romance.  Now, I've never cared for the steampunk I've been exposed to and even avoided it when I could.  Yet, as I've started the research needed to do this challenge right, I find I'm intrigued.   Very much so.  Another friend told me about Steamed so I checked it out and read the sample chapter.  I'm totally hooked.  I love the main character and will be picking it up when I get to town this week.

So, what's the point of this?

Expand your comfort zone.  Challenge yourself and your writing.  If you've only tried first person, give third a shot and vice versa.  Try a new genre. Challenge yourself with short word counts or try something longer if you've only been writing short stories.

You might discover you like stepping out on a limb ever so often.

What about you?  Got a comfort zone you don't like stepping out of?  Share with us and we'll push the boundaries together.


Cheryl said...

Honestly, I never thought I would be a fiction writer. Nonfiction had been my thing for over 15 years, barely even read fiction; but then I started writing fan fiction and people were liking my stories.

It kind of blossomed from there and I took several workshops to help improve my dialogue, showing instead of telling, and character development.

Now I'm waiting for my first children's book to be released this fall, and I'm a few chapters into my latest WIP. The feedback on the WIP has been outstanding so far, and it's motivating me to keep writing.

I read mostly fiction now, historical fiction being my favorite. I still read a fair amount of nonfiction, but not as much as I used to.

Who knew you could teach old dogs new tricks.


Jean said...

Giving nonfiction a try when you are a fiction writer and vice versa is another way to push your comfort zone.

I know a writer who thought she'd hate nonfic but after giving it a try, she discovered she loved it.