As much as I love shifters or friends-to-lovers or cop/fire rescue themed stories … it would get a bit tiring to read the same thing over and over. Most readers will agree that variety is key to keeping stories interesting. And if that’s important to us, then it stands to reason that authors feel the same when creating world after world.
Here is Eden Winters to talk about how stretching her comfort zone inspires something no matter what you’re in the mood for.
The Comfort Zone
I’ve been told that sometimes writers have a tendency to carve out a niche and stay there. We’re happy, our editors are happy, the publisher is happy, and the reader is happy. So, why change?
There’s an old saying, “What doesn’t grow dies.” The same can be said of creativity. If we stand still, allow our imagination to stagnate, we may be content for a time, but we’ll never reach our full potential.
Years ago I didn’t read M/M romance. As a moderator on a fan fiction site, I asked that any works of that genre requiring moderation go to another, for I thought I’d be uncomfortable reading such a story. Then one day curiosity took over. I stepped out of my comfort zone—and I fell in love with m/m romance. A few months later, a friend suggested we each try our hand at writing a m/m novel. What? Me write a novel? With sex scenes and everything? Fanfic was one thing; sending a work to a publisher, and possibly facing rejection, was another entirely. Once more I stepped out of my comfort zone, writing a novel to give away to readers as a gift, for the end result of my efforts was too personal to sell. (Enjoy a full length novel HERE and it’s sequel HERE.)
More novels came afterward.
I settled into angst romance, tales of average men overcoming their obstacles to fall in love, be they pitted against external forces, as in The Angel of 13th Street, or dealing with internal struggles, such as The Wish and Fallen Angel, or even overcoming physical setbacks, such as in The Telling. Though I love angst and gained a following, something seemed missing.
After spending so much time writing emotionally charged fiction, my muse demanded that I lighten the mood. I stepped out of the comfort zone again to create a tale of tongue-in-cheek dating site misadventures for The Match Before Christmas, having no idea I’d be capable of humor. Some readers followed along, some didn’t, and some brand new readers discovered my work through the novella and its sequels, Fanning the Flames, and A Lie I Can Live With. I also learned a valuable lesson: readers don’t insist on washboard abs and model looks for a romantic hero, as shown both in the novellas and light-hearted novel, Settling the Score.
Then someone mentioned shifters. I’d written shifters back in my fanfic days, but how about something to publish? At the time I’d gotten heavy into angst again, so I tried my hand at farce, crafting Galen and the Forest Lord. Okay, I wrote silly, I wrote shifter. Now what?
Well, the next time I stepped out on a limb I created a snarky, mouthy, ex-drug trafficker who doesn’t have much going for him in the looks department. Who knew writing such an ill-tempered protagonist could be so much fun? The trouble is, now Lucky Lucklighter has taken over my life, and I’m currently writing a sequel to Diversion.
My recently submitted manuscript, Naked Tails, started out to be another humorous shifter novel, for how could possum shifters not be funny? Once more I took a chance, and although the overtone is light, the novel has many serious elements.
Will every reader like every book? No. Is there something in my work for everyone? I certainly strive to achieve that goal, and challenging myself as a writer keeps me moving forward. How next will I push my own boundaries? I’m thinking…epic fantasy.
Eden is offering up an e-book from her backlist. Winner has choice of: The Angel of 13th Street, Fallen Angel (the sequel to The Angel of 13th Street), Diversion, or Settling the Score.
To enter, comment below about how big or small your own comfort zone is.
Open until Thursday, August 30th at 11:59 pm (PST). Winner will be selected and notified on Friday.