New Genre, New Skills


So, as mentioned in this morning’s book post, my cozy mystery is nearly ready to greet the world. And it’s a strange feeling.

My comfort zone is weird, funny sci-fi. so it’ s a bit of a stretch for me to branch into, well, funny mystery. It’s the “weird” that’s tough for me to shake.

That probably gives you a little insight into my personality, I’d say.

As a writer, though, the experience of trying a genre bound by rules I don’t normally follow (you know, like physics. And nature) was tough. I felt constricted.

It was also fantastic. I had to reason my way out of the very dark and very pointy corners I tend to write myself into, and it taught me a lot about different approaches to plotting issues. Mystery requires a precision in the first draft I don’t always have, since I’m not a planner.

And when I went back to my normal genre, I took that all with me. It was like I’d been training with weights on my typing fingers, and going back to the offbeat science fiction, I’d left them in the dust.

I think it’s a good thing for us, as writers, to push ourselves in new directions, to take away our writing security blankets. It strengthens us in all directions.