One of the things I look for most in finding something new to write, is to see what I have yet to do or get practice on. Do I need a villain, or a healer, or have I had someone who’s a certain kind of artist? What genres have I been writing in? What haven’t I written in?
Comfort zones are called that for a reason. You have your go-to characters, genres, style and etc that you default to, that you feel like you write best in. Such as with drawing; you can draw humans well, or women better than men, or animals better than anything. But reaching out helps not only round you out, but teaches you something, about the dynamic of what you’re working on, and things you may not have considered before.
As someone who writes romance well and has never had a hand at mystery before, it comes more easily for me to write in romantic interest between the main characters than it does to write out sneaky twists and hidden plot lines. The wickedness and greed of the wrong-doer does not come to me as naturally as the subtle, sweet grin of the main character to their current interest.
We find our niche, it is our kind of art, it’s what we see the most of in our head.
But when we venture out of our comfy nook, we find something else to play with. We find all new opportunities, and we can both weave them into our typical writing, and find new possibilities outside of it.
Find what you haven’t touched yet. What you’re not used to, and don’t be afraid to go for it. Think of it like sketching, practicing and finding your way through something new or mostly untouched. It may not be the easiest thing you’ll do, but imagine how it’ll help your skill:
- Learn from suspense and thrill in action/adventure with scenes that can oftentimes end in explosions. It can help teach good buildup and plot hooks, and add some mystery to keep the reader guessing, and hooked on.
- Explore the intimacy and personal dilemmas and psyche of characters with romance. It can put the story on a different personal level or show a side to a character that would have otherwise gone unseen, which can help with giving more dimension and dynamic.
- The limit of the heart and mind can be found in horror, as well as physical limits. Though this is one genre I have not ventured in too terribly much, suspense on a much grander scale without giving too much away helps round out hooks and hints. While scaring the bejesus out of you and your readers.
- Mystery, though I’m still learning on this one, builds suspense in a different way, and can lend a hand in how to keep your readers in the dark without giving away too much up front, no matter how excited you are about the developments you’ve come up with.
Four among many, with plenty of inter-mixing. That’s a post for another day: why stop at just one genre when you can have three to four?! Of course, you have to be careful, sometimes it can just turn into a mess.
Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to something you haven’t been able to sink your teeth into before. Push yourself. Learn something new. Scrape your knees up a bit, get your hands dirty. You may find you don’t care for it, but that’s the joy of exploration, isn’t it?
-The Novice Wordsmith