Sunday, September 21, 2008

Writing Outside Your Comfort Zone

Good morning friends and writers!

I've been trying to heal this annoying back. I'm grateful it's getting better, but it's taking longer than I would like. Harumph! There's so much to be done! My yard is a wreck after the remnants of Ike passed through last Monday (branches down all over), there are more tomatoes to pick and freeze, and plums, peaches, and pears that ought to be processed. Never mind the painting that never got finished on the front porch! But there's always next year, and I have to be grateful that this isn't permanent, that I will heal, and that I'm blessed beyond words.

There. I straightened myself out again.

Some good did come out of this misadventure, however. Because I was forced to lay on my back for about a week, I finished the edits on FIRESONG: AN UNHOLY GRAVE, and sent it to my publisher. (this is the fifth LeGarde mystery in the series). And I was able to start working on my new book again (lucky number thirteen), THE AVIARY. What fun that is! After slogging through edits for way too many months, I'm finally feeling FREE. Free to write. Free to plot. Free to invent new characters. It feels SO good.

I'm trying to write from a woman's POV. So far, my critique partners think I've managed to nail it. But we'll just have to wait and see. Maybe next week I'll post an excerpt and get your opinions? What do you think?

It's challenging to write out of your comfort zone.

Have you done that? Are you a poet who's attempted flash fiction? A novelist who's tried haiku recently? How did it feel? Was it fun? Or just awful?

I'd love to hear about your experiences here, if you've time.

I have a video shoot at the Wood Library in Canandaigua this morning, just before my booksigning at Heron Hill Winery - so I must make this short today.

Warmest wishes to all, and remember - if you love to write - write like the wind!



Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. The author of LeGarde Mysteries and Moore Mysteries savors the countryside in the Genesee Valley in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his websites at and and watch for the fourth book in the LeGarde series, MAZURKA, coming in fall 2008 from Twilight Times Books.


Keith Pyeatt, author of paranormal thrillers said...

Glad to read that you're healing, albeit slowly.

Leaving the comfort zone is important to me in that it provides satisfaction and growth as a writer. The thought of writing from a mentally challenged man's point of view gave me my biggest pause, I think, but I'm glad I wrote that novel. I also did what you're doing and wrote a novel almost entirely from a female point of view.

I feel stretched as a writer often, and it's almost always due to the characters I create, the ones different from me. And almost all of them are different from me. They have to be or nobody would want to read about them. *grin*

Marta Stephens said...

Although I understand the philosophy behind the "write what you know" thing, there's no challenge in it.

So to answer your questions, I've worked outside my comfort zone in a number of ways, but the two most obvious to me are writing in the male voice and getting inside the heads of criminals.

Oh...and one more thing...writing in Gus's voice. ;)