Hey, gang! Hope those of you who celebrated turkey and togetherness last week did so in grand fashion. It's time to for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post (IWSG).
What is IWSG? Besides being a collection of awesome people, it's THE support network for writers. We offer each other encouragement and commiseration on the first Wednesday of each month. Click the pic below for more details and to learn how to join.
A cup of devilishly unusual tea in a strange café I'll never set foot in again…
Sometimes writing a story is all of those things to me. It's like a pair of expensive shoes so impractical I'll only be able to wear them once, with a specific shirt, and then put them back in the box forever. It's one night spent in the company of a beautiful stranger, no names or phone numbers exchanged.
I firmly believe writing CAN be a casual affair. Thing is, it took me a while to work up to being able to accept that.
See, I've been something of a serial monogamist when it comes to my writing. For the most part, I'm a Plain Jane, stick-in-the-mud, write-what-I-love kind of writer.
I like fantasy. The impossible excites me. Thinking about dark things that shouldn't exist frightens me--in a terribly good way. The story is a-rocking when fantastical things come a-knocking so to speak.
I like feisty characters who crack the quip-whip with reckless abandon. (Don't stand too close! She'll snap you!) Bold is usually the first--and main--ingredient in my protagonist soup.
So what happens when I start writing a contemporary story with a main character who is more contemplative than combative? A story where I can't toss in an explosion or fangs when things start to drag?
*breathes heavily into paper sack*
I get a little nervous. The itchy, twitchy shakes set in. If I'm being completely honest, it feels a little like I'm stepping out on my main gal. No, it goes deeper than that. At times it feels more like I'm betraying my very writing nature.
But it's damned fun! Like a kid playing dress up, I get to be something I'm not. I get to be a writer of "serious fiction" (well, not SO serious--War And Peace this is not). In that way it is fantasy I suppose.
Perhaps the most important aspect of playing in the shadows of my comfort zone is that it has forced me to grow as a writer. Nothing about writing this contemporary story has come easily for me. There's no writing from the cuff. It's a blissful struggle most days.
And like all meaningful workouts, it sometimes leaves me sore and questioning if I'm fit enough to pull it off. Then I'll re-read a few pages.
I'll see that I'm letting characters express themselves in ways I've never done before. A good scene will jump out, and I'll think, "I could never have done this in fantasy!"
I'll find a few nuggets of sparkling brilliance in a mine full of dark rocks. My confidence spikes (a little LOL) and I get back to digging, because I know I might just hit the mother load if I keep at it.
Will I consider myself a master of contemporary fiction when I'm done? Will anyone else? Not likely. But I will have had one heck of a good time doing it. Who knows, maybe I'll even try another one.
What about you? Have you written anything outside of your usual genre or category lately? How did it turn out? Would you do it again?