Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Insecure Writers: Writing outside the comfort zone

Hey, I actually remembered it's Insecure Writers Day. Just in time for my latest insecurity - writing outside my comfort zone.

Yep, that could be me, scaling that gigantic phallic rock. (Sorry, that pic cracked me up and I couldn't resist posting it.)

I'm a big believer in writing from the gut - going where the characters lead, following my writerly instincts, taking a flying leap off the edge of the cliff, as Ray Bradbury so aptly put it, and building my wings on the way down.

I've written a few stories that are outside my comfort zone. Mostly the discomfort came from the erotic scenes. Sometimes the characters seem to demand the sex be hot and nasty. In some cases, I follow along, though I may close my eyes while typing. :)  Sometimes, I insist on toning it down a bit. Sometimes, when it feels necessary to the story, I just go with it.

For one novel, I actually stopped writing it a few times because the sex was very intense. It's set in the Underworld, and most of the erotic scenes involved a demon and his concubine. Once I realized that those scenes were actually less about sex than the underlying power struggle, I gave in to the demons' demands.

But I'm worried that some readers won't perceive the story as I'd hoped. A great deal of research goes into my stories (yes, even those set in The Undeworld - mythology plays a big part). And I am a serious writer.

Do you view such stories in a negative light? Do you view such writers as less than serious?

Thanks to all who share their views on this subject, and especially to Alex Cavanaugh, who launched the Insecure Writers Support Group!

Unrelated news, but visits are appreciated!

I'm at Romance Book Junkies today, talking about writing across genres and my dark paranormal, Dead to Rights (not a romance! Shh, don't tell.). I'd love for you to come over and keep me company! This kicks off my month-long blog tour. Just a word of warning. :)


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know I couldn't write about sex! It was stepping out of my comfort zone just to write a female character. And if some readers don't get what you wrote then they just weren't your intended audience.

LD Masterson said...

As a reader: When the sex seems forced (oops, it's page 30 - time for a sex scene) or too abrupt (no interest, no interest, they're ripping each other's clothes off), it will turn me off the story. But when it fits and is right for the characters then I'm good with it.

As a writer: Writing sex scene can be fun. And then I think of my grandkids reading my work. Talk about being outside your comfort zone!

Cate Masters said...

I used to think I couldn't, Alex, until I gave it a try. Now the characters clamor for it! I have to indulge the poor things now and then.

Exactly, Linda. Well put. And luckily I don't live near my siblings anymore. On visits home lately they look at me strangely, like I've been replaced by an alien, ha ha.

Maria Zannini said...

I'm one of those readers who always examines author motive. I'm a read-between-the-lines kind of reader. I'm always disappointed if there's not some deeper meaning in the story.

But I've never judged an author by the sex s/he writes. As long as it fits with the story, I can roll with it.

Fairday Morrow said...

As long as it fits in with the story I am okay with what happens! I haven't written any sex scenes- but I can imagine it might be a bit uncomfortable having my family read them. I guess you never know what the characters will want. :)

Cate Masters said...

Good to hear, Maria and Jess. Hopefully most readers are the same!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I know you write lots of different stuff, Cate. It actually comforts me that you aren't entirely comfortable with all of it. I would be really envious to know it all came easy.

Cate Masters said...

It's always great to challenge yourself as a writer, Susan. It makes the end result so much sweeter!