02 March 2009

Pushing Your Writing Boundaries

We all have our personal bugaboos or sqwick factors. It's just the nature of being readers and writers. There are certain professions I won't let my hero and heroines have because I find them rather sleazy, and I don't want sleazy main characters (for villains, everything's a go). There are certain sexual situations you'll never find my characters engaged in either because I don't see the point when I read it in other books. (Please notice I am not mentioning the ones I avoid, as I will be the first to congratulate someone who writes and sells these same things I find aren't for me.)

However - NEVER SAY NEVER!!!

Please reread the following paragraph substituting the word "never" for the phrase "most likely not." - That gives a bit more latitude creatively.

Which brings me to today's topic.

Over the past few months, I've gotten some pretty darn good ideas featuring some of the situations that were formerly on my squwick list. Though somewhat tempered to work within my personal comfort zone - or at least to make the situations more palatable to me - I have still seen a way to push my writing boundaries a little further out. This is really quite the step for me.

It wasn't so long ago I struggled with a red face and shaky hands while I wrote my first full-on erotic romance. Sometimes just getting the words on the page required several cups of chamomile tea and a bevy of cold showers. I was a mess. But I got it completed, submitted to a pub, and sold on the first go. That was a very important lesson for me. One that validated for me that moving away from our writing comfort zones can sometimes produce very good results. It also helped to push my writing in a new direction.

I never want to be a stagnant writer. To keep pumping out the same kinds of books over and over. I want to grow and change and find new creative avenues for my ideas. I want to blend genres and create my own sub-sub-genre that becomes the next big thing. But to accomplish that, I have to get over the hang-ups....somewhat. Hey, I said I wanted to push my own comfort zone, not totally obliterate it.

Conversely, I've also started targeting specific category romance lines. Talk about having to learn to color within the lines. Being someone who has always written her books the way I've wanted to, I'm finding it a very stimulating challenge to have to write according to someone else's rules. It's an odd combination, to push out in some areas, while pulling back in others.

So, if you were to plot my current wips on a graph - they would look like - a donut.

-Kat
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