Writing What Scares Me

When I started my second novel – the one I’m wrote for NaNoWriMo – I knew that I wanted several things to be different from my first novel, The Sound of Color.

TSOC is in third person, past tense.  I knew that I wanted my NaNoNovel to be in first person.  I learned about two chapters in that it also needed to be present tense.

TSOC’s magic happens in another world (High Fantasy), while the NaNoNovel happens in our world (Urban Fantasy).

TSOC has a somewhat formal voice, and I knew my NaNoNovel was going to be more playful, lighthearted, sarcastic, etc.

But these two novels are actually a lot alike.  They’re both fantasy, and both of them have an MC who’s a teenage girl that is a lot like me.  They are both compassionate people, both have to face an Antag that isn’t a huge part of the story, both have a supporting female character and a supporting male character as best friends.

That’s fine.  That’s what these stories needed.

But as I look forward to having writing be a long-term hobby (or if I’m lucky, a job), there’s so much more I want to write about.

I want to write from a guy’s point of view.

I want to write from an old man’s point of view as he looks back on his life.

I want to write about a disabled person, a middle school girl who’s being bullied, a married couple.

I want to write about a sentient elevator that stops working to see what the people inside do.  A couch who gets stolen.  A mug that doesn’t like the smell of tea.

I want to write about an atheist, a centaur, a girl from another world who comes to ours.

Why?  Because I write to explore.  To put myself in other people’s shoes.  That’s why I want my next novel to be something that scares me.  Something foreign.  Something that I have to research.  Something that I have to work at to put myself in someone else’s mind.

I want to write a sci-fi story, a contemporary story, a story about a bookstore, a story about things that I’ve never even dreamed of.  A horror story, a romance story, a story about a guy who curses and a girl who wears high heels.

I want to write short stories, poems, novellas, books in a series, long novels and short novels and newspaper articles.  I want to write first person, omniscient, multiple 3rd-limited, second person… ALL THE POVs!

I don’t want to stay where I am.  I want to grow as a writer, to be the hoper of far-flung hopes, the dreamer of improbable dreams.  I want to write every shade of story that I can.  And yes, that’s a bit scary to think about.  But isn’t that the point?  We’ve probably all heard this quote:

If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.

So if my writing doesn’t intimidate me just a little, it’s not hard enough.  I want my writing to force me to grow as a person.

I love the sad, emotional scenes in TSOC.  Star loses someone close to her, and goes through some tremendous pain.  As a person, I’ve never felt pain like that, but as an author, I had to dive into her pain.  So maybe, hopefully, it made me more sympathetic to real people who’ve experienced that real pain.

I don’t want writing to be just a hobby, just a profession.  I want it to be an exploration of human nature, a journey to grow as a person, and a chance to think outside of my limited life experiences.  I want to write what scares me.

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