Friday, 9 July 2010

The Comfort Zone

Good morning, how are you? I am on a carb free diet, so please have a handleful of nuts and some yoghurt (there's secret bread in the toaster).

The book I'm writing at the moment is the most complex, complicated work that I have ever attempted. It deals with some pretty dark issues, and requires carefully thought out characterisation, and yet it still must have romance, humour, and a pacy plot that entertains and engages the reader.

The point is someone said to be a few months ago that she thought I could push my boundries, test my self and try and see what happens when I move out of my comfort zone. As a person, never mind a writer, that's a scary thought, and a gamble that you might lose.

So my question to you today is what, if anything, do you think you could do to move out of your comfort zone.


Karen said...

I'm being healthy too so I'll have some yoghurt please :o)

I try and move out of my comfort zone with my short stories, and am attempting a 'cosy crime' this week for my writing group, something I've never done before. Shorts are a good way, for me, to try different styles of writing and I've had some success with ghost stories - again something I'd never tried before I joined the group!

Leatherdykeuk said...

I love yoghurt drinks ;)

I'm pushing my comfort zone at the moment writing a zombie novel. I loathe zombies. Oh dear, though, mine have turned out to be humourous, intelligent and likeable.

So I'm writing a horror short for an anthology as well. It's turning my stomach, and I'm the writer.

Rowan Coleman said...

I LOVE zombies!

Denise said...

No more secret bread in toaster, I've eaten it!

I have thought about trying to write crime, which is definitely out of my comfort zone. Every time I think about it I feel a mix of excitement and fear, which is probably a good thing. Would also be required elements for that kind of book I suppose!

sheepish said...

Hi I'm rather late so I've got a glass of wine, well it is after 6pm in France! I'm afraid I'm not ready to go outside my comfort zone, although I suppose admitting to people that I am writing a novel is a big step forward. And one of these days I will actually allow someone[not sure who]to read some of it. Now that really would be outside my comfort zone.
BTW sorry I have been absent rather a lot recently but real life gets in the way sometimes.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Nuts please :) Someone recommended the Donal Maas 'Breakout' book and there are lots of suggestions in there to push your story beyond the present comfort level. One of the single (and simplest) things I took away from that is always to ask 'what if' (what if your heroine falls in love but it turns out he's a nut/zombie/etc etc :) I've found just asking that simple question at any point in writing the story gives you permission to think outside the 'set' storyline you have comfortably in your head. Good luck x

Fia said...

How exciting. Go for it Rowan because I think you can afford to do this. You're a successful writer of loads of books and you already write under a pen name for your Y/A fiction. Sophie Kinsella writes under another name but I haven't read any of these. I wonder if they are very different to her usual style?

At Winchester, an agent told me my writing was safe and competent but she would quickly forget my characters (my plot wasn't much good either). She urged me to write something darker - more edgy. I know she's right but although I can do this in flash fiction, the thought of writing a whole novel in this vein is beyond my capabilites. But I will certainly try to add far more depth to my characters in future. (And construct a better plot:))

One of my problems is that I enjoy reading many genres and don't know which I fit into. I realise that knowing this is vital to getting published but recently getting published has become less important than writing a book I feel happy with.

I also have never understood the antagonism between some literary readers/writers and commercial readers/writers? Each has to be highly skilled to be published don't they?

liz fenwick said...

Hi back in Dubai after the RNA conf with was fab...and oh nuts please plus extra strong coffee...

I think for me it's putting myself into the books and not being afraid of the emotion. I tend to hold back and if i want to be the writer I want to be then that is not an i have to open up, roll up my sleeves and get stuck in but thankfully not today because in a jet lag fog.

Good luck with the new work Rowan.


Anonymous said...

I think I've been out of my comfort zone for some time now. Actually, it might be more accurate to say I haven't yet found my comfort zone. I'm still not sure what genre(s) my work fits into. It often crosses several genres and is therefore probably unpublishable. It's a good job I'm not too bothered about that at this stage.

I really like trying different writing styles and techniques, so I think I'll keep on experimenting for now.

By the way, who wants to sign up to host more coffee breaks?