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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pushing the Comfort Zone

I've always been a firm believer in writers pushing themselves, stretching with every book or story they write. I think I've done this to some degree or another, but recently I really pushed my comfort zone. It was an interesting experience in some ways--in others, completely terrifying.

In the past, I'd challenged myself by writing novellas. Up until then I'd only written books that routinely came in over 115,000 words. (Most single title books are between 85,000 and 100,000 words.) Then I challenged my length issues even farther by writing a couple of short stories. And sometimes it's the storyline that challenges me. Kel and his PTSD. Kendall and Wyatt trapped inside a pyramid. Characters with jobs or hobbies I know nothing about.

This time my challenge was different. The proposal I put together was for Nocturne Cravings--and the Cravings stories are erotic paranormal romance.

Yes, I've written hot stories before, but not erotic hot. And the heat levels in my books have been driven by the characters, not by me. Instead, I had to go into a project knowing it had to be hot, hot, hot.

To say I was insecure about this would be understating the matter. My poor writing buddies listened to me over and over and reassured me over and over. It's good to have friends. :-)

Somehow, I got through the proposal and somehow it was good enough to submit. And I survived the challenge. At least the beginning part of the challenge. If I sell this story, I'll be facing this challenge again, but magnified because I'll have to maintain the heat level for the entire story.

I knew going in that writing erotic romance wasn't easy. I was right, it isn't. But I feel good about stretching and trying something different, whether it sells or not. It also gives me the encouragement I need to tackle some other story ideas I have that I know will challenge me.