Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Working outside your comfort zone
I’ve been lucky enough recently to be working on a project for a well-known series fiction packager.
It’s a whole new way of writing for me. I’ve been given a detailed breakdown of what happens, chapter-by-chapter. I have to flesh it out and bring colour and life to the story.
Despite the prescriptiveness of it all, I already feel that the characters are ‘my own’ and am enjoying the whole experience very much.
The editorial input is quite tough and even though I already work with a brilliant editor at my own publisher, I’m finding that process is like a writing work-out. Because I’m not having to think about where the plot is going [all that has – bliss - already been decided] I can really work on the nuts and bolts of my writing.
When they asked if I wanted to try out for something else, I almost bit their hand off. But here was something even more challenging; writing a sample of a ‘pink and sparkly’ book for girls aged 5-8.
I’ve got two boys and while I’ve read a lot of fiction aimed at older girls just for pleasure, I had literally never even opened one of these ‘little girl books’ before. So I asked some trusted writer friends [thankfully I know a couple who write very successfully in this genre] for advice and recommendations. I read three books [Fairy Bears:Sparkle by Julie Sykes, Unicorn School: Team Magic by Linda Chapman and a Rainbow Magic title] in a morning. I childishly kept taunting my horrified 12-year old with them - I think he feared he would turn into a little girl in fairy wings if one touched him].
I soon saw the immense skill in these stories and found myself being pulled in to what was going on, just as much as I would with any good book.
Then I got to work..
Now the sample is done and now I’m just crossing my fingers and waiting again. I’m also chomping at the bit to get back to my own stuff. But it’s made me realise that working outside my comfort zone has been a bit of a literary work out.