The query trenches suck. There I said it. I’ve been saying it for a while. The only thing keeping me sane right now are my writing buds, who are going through the same thing, and my need to distract myself with developing something new.
First off, the only time I’ve ever written a short was for a creative writing class some time back – and it was hard. Well, who am I kidding? It was almost freaking impossible. Create an entire story with a beginning, middle and end in less than 10k? Yeah, it was pretty difficult. But it tested me in ways I never expected.
“Emanate” still had a YA voice but this time it was male. I don’t write male protagonists. Ever. But I wanted to push myself. See if I could write an authentic teenage boy’s voice that would be compelling. It took months to write and massive edits after my CPs got a hold of it. I’m a little embarrassed to admit the first draft was really bad. No, really, really bad.
When “Emanate” was complete, and eventually accepted for submission, I felt like I’d jumped a huge hurdle. Not only had I written a short, but it was way out of my comfort zone.
Fast forward six months. My MS is completed and queries, partial and fulls are floating out in the marketplace. I was tired of refreshing my inbox for the thousandth time and needed something new to write. Elephant’s Bookshelf Press had announced a summer anthology and was looking for submissions which was a perfect way to get my focus on something new.
I toyed with several ideas until one stuck.
But I hesitated.
A day. A week. A month.
Why? Because it was way out of the realm of what I usually write.
1) It was adult
2) It was sci-fi
3) It was 3rd Person POV
I tried many times to talk myself out of this story, but every time I tried to focus on something new, the premise came back to haunt me. Begging me to be written. So one Sunday a month ago I sat down and wrote. The characters and plot flowed onto the pages seamlessly and before I knew it “Unearthed” was born. I did a small amount of editing before I sent it to my CPs. They were incredibly encouraging about the writing and the premise (except for the several times when I “head-hopped” – which is something that is very difficult NOT to do in 3rd Person POV). I bow down to those of you who write in this POV. It’s really hard.
So you may ask what is the point of this long diatribe? It’s this – your writing gets better if you push yourself. Writing in a different genre and POV forces you to experiment and learn. After finishing “Unearthed”, I proved to myself I could write in something besides the YA voice and could do it from a different POV.
Now will I ever write an entire adult, sci-fi MS from third person POV? Probably not. But what I proved to myself was I could stretch as a writer. Even though my idea was scary, I pushed beyond that fear to create something I was proud to submit.
What about you fellow writers? Do you push yourself beyond your writing comfort zone? If so, I’d love to hear how in the comments.