First off, go check out the story stockpile on Fictionpress to see the new story I added this past Sunday called For Love and Country! Our lovely viewer StrangeLace won a giveaway for that fiction and gave me a cheesy romance prompt. I did say I would write a story based on pretty much any prompt so off I went to think up a love story.
Romance isn’t in my main bag of tricks. Most of the time the characters I write are too young for that or aren’t focused on it. On hindsight, I find that interesting because I tend to view myself at the time of plotting all my previous stories as a bit of a hopeless romantic. Not that I would call myself jaded or anything now, but there are certainly different ways I view romance and relationships.
Regardless, I simply never wrote very much romance. I never wrote much at all outside of my comfortable cushion of magic and fantasy. You could tighten the lens and say I haven’t written much outside of magic in our modern world. That puts things in perspective for me. I definitely need to branch out!
But jeez, world building is daunting!
I’ve tackled a couple of stories outside my comfort zone, and they were difficult for me. Heck, the entire novel I wrote in April wasn’t my usual schtick of pure fantasy romp. I even threw in dreaded Historical Fiction for a touch of terror! If you know me, you know I hate to deal in history. Too many conflicting notions over a single incident in time. No way to truly know the truth. Boring dates and names. I might have PTSD from my school years.
I struggled in my normal way of allowing Twitch chat to distract me a while or putting it off until I couldn’t put it off any longer and then freaking out over a deadline. I agonized over details that were probably unimportant in the end. I still wrote the dang thing, which left me with a nice feeling of accomplishment. Regardless of how it turned out, I wrote it. It’s now in my bag of tricks. I’ve now experienced something different, and I can grow from there. That’s the key.
As another Twitch streamer said about his digital portraits, the end result doesn’t matter. What matters is what he learned while he was working on the piece. That definitely holds true to a big extent, particularly with these flash fictions I keep pumping out.
If you find yourself shying away from a challenge, face it. Don’t make excuses about why you can’t; your brain doesn’t need help keeping you situated in your routine. Use these challenges as a chance to grow. I look back at the stories I wrote that weren’t strictly fantasy, and I see things I can do better next time. That’s the best thing I get to take away from the flash fictions. What can I do better next time–with these and with my longer work!
So next time I write a romance–or in this case, when I edit my April novel that is my first fantasy adventure with a heavy romantic element–I have more ideas of what to bring to the table. I’m sure I’ll also have a lot to learn from my next set of mistakes. Bring it on!
What have you worked on that is outside of your comfort zone? Could be writing or anything really! Scared to face that next new challenge? I’m cheering for you! Take it down! If you need encouragement, find me in our daily Write In on Twitch Monday-Friday !
Remember to celebrate your victories big and small, and keep writing!