Stepping Out of My Wheelhouse

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So I’m stepping out of my comfort zone later this week.  I’ve decided to tackle the paranormal thriller that I hope to release in early 2016.

Why so long?  Because I have no idea what I’m doing.  All I have is a basic idea and now the characters, but this one is a little scarier to get into than my previous challenges.  All of those had some connection to what I had already done.  This one seems to be entirely on its own.  Minimal action since I’m going for atmosphere and mystery.  Shorter in chapter and size from what I’m thinking.  Then again, I don’t know what I’m thinking or how to piece this together just yet.

To be honest, this story has cropped up in my mind several times over the last two years.  I think it’s time I gave it life, but now I see how slippery it is.  Focusing on it makes things a lot more real than the dream it was before.  So doubt and second-guessing is showing up in my mind.  Is present tense good for this?  Can I contain my natural instinct to go big?  How does a chapter in this story differ in structure from the ones I usually do?  All of this and I still plan on writing the story.  My hope is to get the outline done tonight before I go to bed.

So, what do other authors do when they step into a new genre?  Is there always a flicker of doubt whenever you try something new?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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41 Responses to Stepping Out of My Wheelhouse

  1. Kate Sparkes says:

    Oh, yes! I’m tacking urban fantasy (vampires and all that fun stuff) as soon as my current trilogy is done. It’s scary… present tense here, too, and a lot more sex and violence than I’m used to. Not to mention the fact that it’s set in our world, which means icky things like fact checking. I’m scared that the audience won’t respond, and that my current readers will abandon me even though I’ll be going back to epic/high fantasy in 2017.

    Yeah, it’s scary. But it’s pretty exciting too, right? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • You have a really strong fanbase, so I think you’ll do better than you think. Many people will follow a beloved author into a new genre because they trust their ability. I’ll be tackling my vampire series after this one too, but mine are still in Windemere. So I don’t have to worry about it being in our world, which has a good and bad side.

      It’s funny how writing something in our world is more daunting than doing one in my fantasy world. Less freedom or something like that?

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      • Kate Sparkes says:

        That’s a big part of it. I’m sticking my vampires in Newfoundland, so for the first time I have to worry about accurate travel distances, street locations, and things like that. And technology, too. Things like smartphones cut down on options for things like people not getting critical information in time and other tension-raisers that I’m used to having access to. It’s an interesting challenge, for sure.

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      • Honestly, a smartphone doesn’t cut down on those things if you play it right. They get lost, put on silence, run out of battery power, get stolen, and all manner of disaster. That’s just the phone too. The owner might not be able to get to it or be routinely forgetful about messages. Not a fictional character, but my wife is terrible with her phone in terms of messages and remembering to charge it.

        Google maps can help with the location stuff. I used map programs when I originally had my vampires in LA.

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    • L. Marie says:

      Ooo!!!! Kate is writing a vampire series!!! Can’t wait!!!

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  2. I am writing my first book, as you know, which is a fantasy. I have never written in this genre before, except my dabbling on my blog. It took me months to get a clear path of the journey I wanted to take. Finally, I started doing story boards. They are brainstorming ideas of how the story “could” flow. I wrote down all kinds of ideas and started to get a better idea of where I wanted to go. Follow your vision. Get excited, be a kid, (sorry I had to add that :-D) and lose control on paper. Then weed through your ideas and pick what you like best. Then, do a general outline. I had my ending before I knew where I was going. I write notes in a spiral notebook as I go. Names change, places change…
    Don’t be afraid to try this. I know you will be great! Spread your ‘old’ adult wings. Best of luck to you! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rachel says:

    It’s always good to step out of your comfort zone. Lately I’ve been writing mystery, but before I got into that genre I wrote in a few other genres. If anything else, it’ll be a learning experience. Good luck with it!

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  4. sknicholls says:

    Interesting. I’ve got one in the works and I changed the person from first to third, and back to first, now back to third. It’s past tense. But it’s the greatest challenge, so far. It’s hard to get that element of suspense when you already know what will happen. Good luck with it. I’m trying to read a paranormal thriller right now that is in present tense called, “The Edge of Normal” by Carla Norton, but it’s been real hard for me to get into it. I’m only on chapter three and I’ve been going back to it for two weeks. Supposed to be a real page turner and suspenseful, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

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  5. Oloriel says:

    I tend to focus on what I believe is my strongest element in all the ‘mess’ I am summoning onto myself – my style of writing itself.
    Best of luck to you with your project and I am looking forward to seeing the end result of it, and even more, to get a glimpse of your process while you are writing it.

    Like

  6. L. Marie says:

    I have to laugh, because on a previous post of yours I said the same thing: I have no idea how to do this. But like you, if I had a story in mind, I would try to write it anyway. The plus side to this is that you already have a story idea. That seems half the battle! Also, you’ve already written so many novels! So you know how to produce a good book.

    I always doubt myself. All I can do is keep going despite the doubt.

    When I need to tackle a new genre, I try to read as many books as I can in the genre, to get a feel for the pacing.

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    • I think the main reason I’m not reading a bunch of books in the genre is due to time. I have so many projects that I don’t feel like I can sit to read a bunch of books for research. Probably a reminder of having been made to read so much in school, so I prefer to do it solely for fun. I did look up some examples and what people thought of the genre. Talked to a friend who knows more about this than me, so she gave me some pointers. So fingers crossed that I can tackle this and make it work.

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  7. Good job. I’m cheering for you. I wrote my last one in first person, because it was the same kind of story. I wanted it to feel personal. I’d never written in first person, but I really like the way it came out.

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  8. MRS N, the Author says:

    Way to go Charles! I’m so excited for you! As writers, it’s so important for us to step out of our comfort zone and do something totally different. Doubt always creeps in and your inner critic will blast you with attacks. But don’t let that stop you! You are a brilliant storyteller and I can’t wait to hear more about your latest WIP.

    Most thrillers I have read have been first person but not present tense. At the end of each chapter, there is usually a hook or something interesting happening that keeps the reader tuned in.

    You can do it, Charles! Who knows, this could be a new genre you’ll fall in love with. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As a fantasy, short stories and children’s books author, I’m constantly full of doubt. I just pay no attention to it 🙂

    I’m sure the new series will be great. I, for one, am looking forward to reading it!

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  10. tjtherien says:

    I enjoy writing in different genres. I think it helps me expand my repertoire and hones my ability as a writer. I have a list of genres I intend to tackle.

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  11. When I step out there is a bonfire of doubt. It is good for us though.

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  12. I’m comfortable writing thrillers, and enjoy crime, but I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone twice in the past couple of years. Last year it was science fiction, which is odd considering it’s my favourite genre. I wrote The Fifth Watcher in first person and it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get it right! This year it’s fantasy and again, though it’s a favourite of mine, I’ve never ventured into the writing game! But both experiences have been fun in their own way and I know you’re going to love the new experience too. We’ll be here to cheer you on and take the journey with you 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. My brother’s previous 3 novels have been far-future military SF, but his next one is going to be… contemporary military SF. 🙂 He’s writing it next partly BECAUSE it’s different — it’s a chance to clear his brain from the other books before jumping back into the fray to finish that series. And there is some trepidation… New story and new setting, single POV throughout instead of having a handful of major viewpoint characters, a plot far more contained and “close-up” in the details.

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  14. Good on you for doing something new. It will only make your “usual” fresher when you return to it. To get started, I’d suggest reading several books in the genre you want to write. You’ll get an idea what’s already been done and what the expectations of the genre are. Have fun with it.

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