Stepping out of your comfort zone.

Comfort zone? Do writers have comfort zones?

Yes. They do. Most of us anyway, as far as I know. A writer usually is well versed in writing one or two genres. For me those are fantasy and science fiction. A while ago however I’ve had this funny idea of trying something else because comfort zones are nice and easy but sometimes they lack a certain kind of challenge.

Plotters vs. pantsers.

I know this sounds wrong because naturists don’t appreciate pants unless the weather calls for them, but these are writer ways. A plotter plans the entire story from A to Z, knows how many chapters there will be, what happens when and where and why and by whom. A pantser writes by the seat of his or her pants. In a naturist’s manner that would be the bare bum. I’m a bare bum writer. I don’t plan. Plans fail. Usually halfway chapter 1 I’ve already moved off the planned course, killed the main (plotted) character and chased the others off. So that doesn’t work for me, agreed?

A funny idea. A thrilling mystery.

Paul mysterious
Mysterious writer

As I said, a while ago I had this funny idea. Instead of fantasy and scifi I wanted to try my hands on either a thriller or a mystery.

Originally I set out to write a thriller which eventually (around chapter 5) turned into a mystery. How that happened is still a mystery to me. 😉 Even though I planned (plotted) this as a thriller I couldn’t stick to the plan/plot. It changed.

This is turning into a seriously interesting book though, if I may say so myself. It’s a very gentle easing into naturism style book. Oh, also I should add that I’m writing this book in Dutch. If I get it done there’s a fair chance I will rewrite it in English but I’ve noticed there is barely any naturist fiction in my native language so I think it’s time to put some out there.

My plan is to get in touch with the NFN, the Dutch naturist organisation, once the story has gained some substance. Maybe they want to put out some article about it in their magazines (they have two, actually). I will only reach out to them once I am sure the story is getting somewhere. If I tell them about it and somewhere further down the line things fall apart storywise, I would feel very silly.

With this story I am definitely moving out of my comfort zone, despite writing it in the nude as much as I can. Let’s hope this works.

Have you ever gone out of your comfort zone? Let me know how that worked!

7 thoughts on “Stepping out of your comfort zone.”

  1. Good luck, Paul. I’m excited see how this “working out of the comfort zone” works for you.
    I, myself, have written thousands of news articles for newspapers I’ve worked for, but never seriously tied my hand at fiction, so that would be out of my comfort zone altogether. Maybe one day.

  2. I’m not a writer, but as a reader I definitely step out of my comfort zone from time to time.

    Originally, I didn’t have a comfort zone – indeed, in my teens I simply worked through everything on the shelves of my local library! That contributed to the gradual establishment of a comfort zone, throwing up specific authors and genres which I particularly enjoyed and thereafter pursued on the shelves of second-hand shops.

    Twenty years ago, my interest in books which feature social nudity quickly exhausted all the “comfort zone” titles in reading lists I could find online. Coupled with searching through reviews and information offered by the ever-increasing number of non-naturist websites for anything that might indicate a book with naturist interest, I ended up trying many genres I’d never previously read (and some others which I had tried, but didn’t usually go for).

    This tendency to broaden my horizons became necessary once I became a regular contributor to H&E magazine – there simply weren’t enough books with naturist scenes or characters being published in my preferred genres to sustain a monthly review.

    What were these “preferred” and “previously avoided” areas?

    From childhood I’ve liked SF, adventure and crime/thriller tales, as well as “literature” providing it isn’t too high-flown. Some fantasy is fine, some is a turn-off (difficult to put my finger on exactly why material fits in one or the other zone). Similarly, while I can handle gore and mayhem, for me some writers step over a line into enjoying these for their own sake or even outright sadism.

    It’s not all negative. I’ve discovered that I can really enjoy a well-written romantic story, even if it complies closely with the formula of a perfectly-matched couple meeting in chapter 1, in circumstances which make them dislike and/or oppose one another, with the rest of the book continually bringing them together in unfortunate ways, until true love finally conquers all.

    What else? Gay fiction, erotic fiction, “women’s fiction”, children’s books – areas I had not exactly avoided, more left to one side because there was so much else to enjoy from mainstream and my favoured side-streams.

    Did it do me good to try these novelties? Yes, and not only because it helped me to understand more about good and bad (and mediocre) writing, and to realise that this distinction can be found everywhere.

    1. Hello Tim,

      Thank you for your elaborate reaction. It can indeed be challenging to find the right books to read. Like you I enjoy SF and Fantasy but the differences in approach can be staggering. That is also why I venture out into reading other genres from time to time.
      And that is the very same reason I am trying my hand at writing them. Unsworth Manor Nudes was the first attempt. I’m currently (re)working something of a thriller kind of story. That’s a big challenge since I don’t know much about the genre, writing-wise. Let’s see how that turns out.
      In the meantime: enjoy reading and expanding your horizons!

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