Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Experiment

This was a lesson a long time in coming for me as a writer.  See, I write Contemporary, humorous YA, mostly romantic, and kinda girly.  It's my favorite thing to read, too.  And for a long time, I thought that was all I could do.  I was confident I couldn't write anything dark, that I couldn't be really mean to my characters.  Certainly, I could never write a male POV.

Then, I tried it.

When my humorous, romantic, girly YA wasn't selling, I thought, what if I tried to tell this story from the male POV?  And I didn't have anything to lose, so I went for it.  Turned out, diving into that male POV also tapped into my dark side.  I made some really terrible stuff happen to that kid.

And when I was finished with him, and another male character showed up in my head asking for attention, I did some even worse stuff to him.

Now?  Now, I've really gone off my rocker, because I've started a new project that can only be classified as magical realism.  What?!  Who am I?

I don't know yet, and that's the cool thing.  Experimenting has shown me sides of myself as a writer that I didn't know I had.  Let my mind stumble across ideas I didn't have access to before.  And it's exciting, and a little nerve-wracking.

Better writers than me have said this same thing.  Maureen Johnson crusades against the idea that writers are a "brand."  And the always hilarious Chuck Wendig likes to keep his fingers in as many pies as possible.

Try something new.  You might use your writerly chemistry set to make a stink bomb, but you might also invent Post-It notes.  You'll never know unless you step outside your comfort zone.

1 comment:

Heather Whitley said...

This is the perfect follow-up to a disappointment blog post. You can't fear disappointment if you're going to take the risk of experimenting. Branching out will lead to both dead ends and successes.

And I love what you say about not classifying yourself into a corner. We are capable of so much more than we know, and only experimenting can explore the unknown parts of our potential.