About Once Upon a Word: We're a large group of multi-talented authors working together, to bring you the best romances. Please, stop by our websites and check out what we've been up to: Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Victory Tales Press.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Writing outside your comfort zone by Gerald Costlow

Writing outside of your comfort zone.

I have a passion for writing.  Every writer I know has a passion for writing, or we wouldn’t be driven to doing such a crazy thing.  And most writers I know have one particular type of story they’re interested in writing.  I’m no different.  I love sword-and-sorcery type fantasy and my imagination is filled with dragons and elves and witches and above all, magic.  That’s my comfort zone.  My first published novel, The Weaving, was a straight-up witches and demons and wizards and kings battling type of thing.

But that’s not all I’m interested in.  I like the thrill of stepping out of my comfort zone once in a while.  I love trying out new styles and genres.  After all, a story is about the people, not the setting.  My writing is character driven, so once I develop the characters and drop them into a setting they always come alive and adapt. 

 Lately, certain Western imprints have caught my eye and I got the crazy idea to write a story set in the old West.  I’ve never written a Western before.  I suppose I didn’t think I knew enough about life on the frontier.  For example: where, exactly, do I set my story?  The “wild west” covered about a third of the country at various times.  Texas and Nebraska were both the frontier but were as different then as now.  I do not and have never lived west of Ohio except for a few miserable weeks of Air Force basic training in San Antonio one summer.  The cows I grew up with on the farm were milked, not wrangled.  What do I know about daily life on a ranch?

Then my writer side stepped up and slapped me for being so dense.  I’ve never lived in a castle or worn a sword, either, but that didn’t stop me from writing a story that took place in a castle.  I didn’t grow up in the West, but I knew the cowboy myth as well as any child who grew up in the golden age of Westerns.  I spent many hours immersed in Bonanza and Cheyenne and a dozen more series on our television, not to mention the movies.

So the child in me woke up, strapped on the six-shooters and headed out West.  The result is this, my first but certainly not last Western Romance.  I sent it in to Rebecca Vickery and Becca liked it well enough to publish.  So along with my Appalachia Romance series, I just might start a series of stories set in the mythical town of Wilcox, Nebraska.

So if you're a writer, have you decided to step outside of your comfort zone before?

"A Wicked Past" by Gerald Costlow, published by Rebecca Vickery

Nancy Darling is enduring a Nebraska winter alone in her isolated farm. Two men, each trying to escape a wicked past, are in a race to find hidden Confederate gold.  When they arrive one Christmas, will she find the fallen angel she's dreamed of or face a devil in disguise?
        
Where to purchase the book [only 99 cents at these locations]:





7 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Gerald! I've never lived on a ranch, either, nor wrangled anything, but I've lived in Texas my entire life. No, I don't step out of my comfort zone much, except for writing a "coming of age story" of a 16 year old girl in 1901 Texas. It's been my slowest seller, but it's also "the book of my heart." So, I love it best. You should do well with the Western genre.

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    1. We do each have our favorite characters and tales, don't we?

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  2. I think it's wonderful that you're willing to try something new and unnatural to you. It's very brave. Although I write all my westerns in the great state of Wyoming, I have never lived there or run a ranch. I have visited Wyoming when I lived in Nebraska and I have also lived in Texas, but most of my work comes from research and relentless nagging of my friends. Because I visited Wyoming, I have a vision of it in my mind that influences my stories. I research the native plants and trees to be certain I have them correct. I use a real river, but an imaginary town.
    I know you'll do a splendid job writing westerns. It's really kinda fun, too.

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  3. Gerald,
    I'm thrilled you stepped out of your comfort zone. I loved your tale. You did a fabulous job and put the reader right there! As for me stepping out of my comfort zone... I love trying new things, but I tend to drag the paranormal into the new ventures. lol
    Hey all, don't forget to stop by KMN Books Blogspot. Gerald is giving away 3 copies of A Wicked Past to 3 lucky winners who leave a comment. http://kmnbooks.blogspot.com/2013/11/interview-with-man-who-has-wicked-past.html Feel free to pass the word along.

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    1. I had to research basic stuff like when were the states actually admitted to the Union, because it had been much too long since school and it's not like I bothered to pay attention back then. I was afraid someone would remark something like, "How come the writer didn't know Nebraska was still Indian Territory during that time period!"

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  4. Thanks for the kind words about the story. Even this story has a touch of the "paranormal" in it with the dream premonitions (could Nancy's mother have been a member of the Sherritt clan? There might be many more stories to come). I couldn't resist.

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