Stretching – a verb that means to draw out or extend per Dictionary.com
I’m listening to Maroon 5’s Sweetest Goodbye as I write this. Two lines from the chorus are spot-on for me. (The video is compliements of baxet339 on YouTube.)
Pushing forward and arching back
Bring me closer to heart attack
I’m being stretched outside my writing comfort zone. I need a practical approach to my dilemma and I’m taking cues from my life. I know from yoga that poses that I could not bring into my body six months ago are now much easier because I have worked all these months at stretching. So I believe I’m able to accomplish the task before me…but by January 1st? Heart attack time!
Tell me how you stretch? No, I’m not speaking of toe touches from your office chair, though giving your low back a ten-minute workout might help your muse dance more freely. I refer to the creative reach where you write outside your genre. Where you go beyond your “kind” in a literary sense.
I love historical novels, romance and otherwise, when I’m creating my stories on a page. Historicals inspire me to continue banging away at the keyboard when my wrists ache, my fingers are sore and my nails need a manicure. However, I do not write historical. I’m a contemporary fiction girl.
I have been assigned the task of writing a short story. The deadline looms. New Year’s Day. It’s racing at me while I am reaching forward and arching back…not exactly Maroon 5’s lyrics, though the perfect picture of my struggle.
The submission call is for 20-25 pages. A cupcake assignment. After all, my first novel was 140,000 words, currently edited to a pristine 75,000. So the page count for the short story is very doable task. My reaching forward is plotting, then beginning the story.
The set up for the assignment involves a carousel where the protagonist is reaching for a brass ring…and zap! that’s where the story begins.
This too, feels completely in my contemporary comfort zone. The carousel at Six Flags over Georgia will be my inspiration. My husband and I rode it on our honeymoon.
But now the other shoe drops…the story must contain an element of paranormal and a touch of darkness.
So today, I played “what if” and made my hairdresser laugh.
I said, “What if Glinda the Good Witch of the North (per the movie and South per the book) wound up in The Devil Wears Prada? Only in my story, the Devil would be literal rather than analogous. Paranormal – I think so. A touch of Darkness – I hope so. Will it gel? Who knows? Will I want to arch back to a place of writing comfort? Absolutely.
However, one thing is for certain, come January 1st if I allow myself to stretched, my imagination will push me forward. I may find that I’ve stretched myself into comfort with writing in a new genre.
Tell me how you’re stretching.
Happy Reading and Writing,