Tag Archives: comfort zone

The Joys and Perils of Genre Jumping

Hey there, Casey here.

Change is hard. Even when you want to change, it’s still a challenge to teach your mind that what you’re doing is okay. That it will all work out. That you shouldn’t panic!

OSV - Grape Arbor

Last summer, I wrote a contemporary romance called Over Easy. I did it because I wanted to grow my writing skills and to try something new and challenging.

All of my books have been paranormal romances. And while I love the genre (and I don’t intend to leave it all together), I need to stretch myself once in a while. So I had this idea about a woman and a struggling diner in a small town in Vermont.

The idea percolated in my brain while I wrote Mystic Hero and Lachlan’s Curse (which I recently sold – yay me!).  I knew going in that it would be hard to switch from one genre to another. Sure, they are both romances, and in theory, the heart is still a love story. . . but. . .

. . . But here’s the thing. They aren’t the same. With contemporary romance, I wouldn’t have magic, evil villains or explosions to rely upon to get my hero/heroine in and out of jams.

Nope.

I’d have to rely on good, old fashioned emotions. Every day problems. Accessible issues. Hearts and flowers.

Hmmm.

Those were kind of scary to me. In real life, I don’t like drama. I hate confrontations. And I don’t like overly emotional situations. Heck, I’m not sure I’m even that romantic.

Well, personal fears aside, I wrote the book.

It came out too short. And while it was okay and my beta readers liked it (it even placed in a contest), I knew it wasn’t as good as it could be.  So I did what most writers do in that situation.

I let it sit. And sit. And sit some more. Then panic and doubt set in, until it morphed into THE. WORST.BOOK.EVER.

That’s when I knew it was time to ask for help. I’m lucky that my RWA chapter has a mentoring program. And I’m even luckier that my mentor is well-versed in the genre.

After a frank assessment of my work, I have new path to follow. I’m learning how to be less plotty (yes, that’s a thing) and be more real. AND to face all those emotions that scare me. Yup. I’m digging deep. It’s uncomfortable, but I’ll live.

In order to write the best book I can – to hatch a beautIMG_1086iful butterfly – I need to return to the cocoon and start again.

See? Maybe there are some hearts and flowers in me after all.

Has anyone else faced the same problem? How did you deal with it?

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Scrabble Withdrawal

Greetings! Suze here. I’ve got a problem. A withdrawal problem. My drug of choice? Online Scrabble.

For months now I’ve been playing online Scrabble, pretty much every day. Now, I’ve been good. Seriously. I’ve limited myself to playing with only a few people–my sister, Aunt Nancy, and a couple of friends. I could easily be playing Scrabble all day long with everybody I know, plus random strangers, and I’d never get anything done. It reminds me of the endless Monopoly and Scrabble games said sister and I would play as kids when our parents would ditch us to go bowling or to play softball. We had our own rules, including double points for dirty words–unfortunately, the online version does not allow for this, and I always feel a litle sad when I have the letters for a particularly choice nugget and don’t get my bonus. Sigh.

Suddenly, there is no more Scrabble. I’ve heard the site was hacked. Hacked? Really? Don’t you computer hackers have anything more important to do, like uncover government conspiracies, expose criminals and bring them to justice, or steal precious artifacts from museums as part of some larger caper? You have to attack an innocent game that brings joy to so many people?

And yet, I can’t help but feel that this may have happened for a reason. A personal reason, that has unfortunately had wide-rippling consequences across the vast sea of Scrabble devotees. (Sorry, everyone!)

Right now I’m working on a story that has me out of my comfort zone. A paranormal romance novella, with zombies and everything. The idea came to me and seemed like so much fun, I couldn’t let it go. So for the time being, I’ve replaced my Scrabble habit with a zombie habit, and it seems to be working. The story is flowing. I’m on track to finish it by my target date. I’ve temporarily feng shuied (sp?) my life, and I rather like the results.

What about you? What’s your online game of choice? If you don’t play (gasp!), have you stepped out of your comfort zone recently?