Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Are You Creatively Comfortable? A Blog Post About “Finding Your Fit” by Rusty Fischer

First off, a big “HELLO!” and welcome to the Fabulously Young ePubs Blog! Here you’ll find tons of great new YA authors and it’s our hope that, while you’re here, you’ll always find great ways to connect with each other and tons of great advice on writing, publishing and even promoting YA literature.

Who am I? My name is Rusty Fischer and I am the author of Ushers, Inc. and a bunch of other zombie, vampire and werewolf stuff. Well, not so much the werewolf stuff so far, but… that’s coming.

I mention it only because it has to do with today’s post, about finding your fit and settling in where you feel the most comfortable – but still stretching and growing while you’re there. Now, onto today’s post:

Okay, so I was submitting some of my YA zombie stuff to an anthology this week and the editor casually mentioned that they had some room left in a few of their more “adult” anthologies. He didn’t mean erotic adult, necessarily, but horror adult.

Now, here’s the thing: I’ve tried writing grown-up horror stuff. You know, “adult” horror where you can cuss and slice and dice and kill and maim as much and as gruesomely as you like and no library will try to burn your book as a result.

I say I’ve “tried” writing that stuff because I’ve never actually finished any of it.

That’s because well, frankly, it’s embarrassing to read. I confess that I’m always embarrassed to read my own stuff just a little, but reading this stuff is just painfully, excruciatingly embarrassing!

It’s bad. Like, “Why did I ever think I could be a writer in the first place?” bad!

That used to bother me. I thought, “I’m a writer, I should be able to write anything, anytime, if only for the creative exercise.” But there are some genres where I just don’t “fit.”

I’m not saying that if someone locked me in a basement with a laptop and put a gun to my head and said, “Write an 80,000-word creepy, crazy adult horror novel while I stand here for days on end watching you type” I couldn’t, but… is that really the mental place I should be when starting a new project?!?

I’ve never been one of those writers who’s thought of writing as a “chore.” Yes, it’s hard work and lots of it, but I actually look forward to doing it and want to keep it that way. I get excited when a new story idea pops into my head or as I’m wrapping up the last chapter of an old one. I look writing back cover copy and query letters and settling into a groove with this character or that.

I’m not saying I don’t keep an eye on my word count and look forward to when I can tie a bow around another completed project, but I’m saying it’s not like digging ditches or parallel parking an 18-wheeler, either.

And craft? Shouldn’t we always be pushing ourselves just a little bit more? Trying new things, in new ways, as often as possible? Sure; absolutely. But… why can’t I do all that stuff where I’m the happiest? Where I fit in the most?

As writers we should always stretch our comfort zones, but I’ve found that I’m the happiest and at my most inspired when I’m “creatively comfortable.” I like writing YA. I’m comfortable there; creatively, physically and otherwise.

My voice rings truer, my sensibilities match up and it’s a good “fit” for my inner 17-year-old who would still rather cover his office walls with cheesy B-movie posters than framed wall art from Bed Bath & Beyond.

So when I stretch, when I grow, when I try new things or get a little bit edgier or switch from zombies or vampires to werewolves and ghouls, well, I want to do it where I feel most comfortable. And that’s okay.

How about you? Where do you feel most creatively comfortable? And how comfortable are you in how many genres?

Yours in YA,



Kimber An said...

Great post, Rusty! I have adult stories in my head too, but I'm just interested in telling them right now. I'm having too much fun doing this.

Anonymous said...

Good point, Kimber An. I definitely go through "phases" where I'm feeling this or feeling that. Yeah, I agree; YA is for sure my focal point rght now and I do find the audience really sophisticated and challenging and totally engaging. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Glad to be a part of this blog!!!

J.A. Campbell said...

Actually parallel parking an 18 wheeler isn't that hard... A lot easier than digging ditches anyway. LOL.

Thanks for sharing Rusty! I like YA too. I to have adult stories I want to tell, and have told in the past, but my main focus is the YA right now. Well, and my next fantasy project. But to me things like high fantasy aren't specifically adult or young adult.


Rebecca Royce said...

For me, I run into trouble because I really do, creatively, write both adult paranormal erotic romance and YA paranormal urban fiction. I want to do it in the same pen name because I want my adult readers, who sometimes switch hit to YA, to read both. But I do NOT want my YA readers who are teenagers reading my adult books. I appreciate the love but its not for them. Although I suppose I am not their parents.

Thats where I come off. I might prefer it if I could satisfy myself with either or. But the muse is pushy.

Sue said...

Thought-provoking post! (First time poster, but I've been lurking since the start.)

Personally, I'm a bit of a "pantser" with my writing. I go where the muse leads me and decide later on where the finished work fits best. I have a YA coming out soon that I initially thought would be an adult story...until it wasn't. LOL

Writing contests are where I generally look to stretch a bit out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I find I like it and sometimes not so much. Either way, it's not a huge commitment on my part and it's sort of fun to see what I can do. :)

Having said that, if a writing opportunity is as totally out of your comfort zone as you described, then I think it's just as best to follow your instincts and avoid it. :)


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Anonymous said...

Sue, I love your comment about writing contests; that's so spot on. I also have some "anthology calls for submission" sites bookmarked where, like you mentioned, I can at least try my hand at everything from grown-up scary stories to romance to werewolves to wherever the spirit takes me. So good point there!

Rebecca, too right; that pushy muse! I have tons of half-started, false starts and mostly done stories in a variety of genres that I pick up, dust off and add to when the spirit strikes. Or I'll be walking in the morning and get inspired and start something. If I stick with it, it was meant to be; if not, well, probably not for me!

Julie, fantasy is one of those genres I'm just too intimidated by to try, adult or YA, so... I'll take your word for it. I enjoy it when I read/watch it, but for me it's like action adventure or westerns or other genres I just know I'll probably never go. Sometimes it's just just to sit back and take the ride as a "civilian" without trying to pick up hints or tricks as I read, which I am more likely to do in the genres I write for, like YA, etc.

Anyway, great points all; thanks for stopping by and commenting!!