Step Outside

22 Mar

Being in my comfort zone means surrounding myself with things that represent me or make me feel good. Here are some examples:

I like antiques like this, interesting-furniture-ref-decorative-antiques-textiles-fairespecially when they have interesting details or a story behind them.





I like intricate patterns like this, edamaskven before it became a fad.




I like architectural tops like this from Cable and Gauge and sold at Macy’s, twist topmostly with jeans and flats.







I like a little bit of juxtaposition like that I drive a masculine car red-dodge-chargerdespite being a female and a mom.





A summary I guess could be that I like things that make me look at things in a new way.

Kelly answered my questions “What item do you own that it very ‘you’? What about your writing is uniquely ‘you’?”:

Item: An orange Dakota watch that clips/hangs on my belt loop. It needs a battery. That is also very me. That you’ve never seen it gives an indication of how long it has needed a battery.

My writing: Almost everything I’ve written so far is concept-oriented. I’m always sneaking in things for kids to learn … I can’t seem to help it.

Kelly is one of my critique partners, so I know her pretty well. And she’s right about her writing. But, as I said in reply to her comment on the last post, what she doesn’t say is that she manages to fit content into even her fiction without it feeling heavy. Kelly’s skill of sneaking in content is amazing, but it isn’t very me. And that’s good. That’s her thing.

My writing trademarks are more “me.” My picture books usually have:

first person point of view (I as opposed to he or she)

a twisted or ironic ending

spare text reliant on illustrations

an irreverent topic or attitude


My longer stuff usually has:

lots of humor

a well-developed main character

a lot of dialogue

body language description as part of characterization

made-up words (see the post Etymology)


That is my writing comfort zone.

Sometimes my comfort zone isn’t as comfortable. Right now I’m revising two books in my chapter book (that may become middle grade) series. And it is HARD. Despite feeling stretched, which is a good thing, I feel like I need a break to let the dust settle before pushing on. But since I’m just getting in the groove with a new writing schedule (more on that next week), I don’t want to take time off. So what do I do?

I think this is a good time to step outside my writing comfort zone. To a new subgenre even. I’m thinking of writing a children’s mystery.

I’m excited. And terrified. I’ve never written a mystery before.

But I guess the best thing about my comfort zone is that I define it. That means I can expand it at any time. If I start to write a mystery and decide to stick with it, mysteries become part of my comfort zone, just like writing picture books or humorous chapter books once did. And if not, that’s okay too. At least I stepped outside. A little fresh air is good for me.

More on Comfort Zone:

7 ways to start writing outside your comfort zone:

Kenneth Mark Hoover, a SF and dark fantasy author’s, blog about trying something outside his comfort zone:

A post about writing outside of your comfort zone:



Posted by on March 22, 2013 in Style


Tags: , , , , ,

2 responses to “Step Outside

  1. Kelly Ehasz

    March 28, 2013 at 12:24 am


    Children’s mysteries! Of course!

    • cocoanqueso

      March 28, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Yes, children’s mysteries. I started making notes for it (any advice about how to do it so I don’t have to do so many rewrites like Mabel?) but I need to read some more children’s mysteries first. Remember that character Biz who introduced herself to me? I think she’ll be the protagonist. We’ll see.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: