What Comfort Zone?

Even outside of this blog, I am a writer. You know that.

I have a specialty, though. Did you know that?

I write non-fiction. I believe I am good at it. I can write the heck out of an informational magazine article or a business letter*.

Even the book I wrote, though it reads a little like fiction, is a true story.

The idea of writing works of fiction terrifies me.

That’s why I said, “Sure!” when Tara asked me, a few months ago, to be one of the contributors to a tag-team blog on which we collectively write a novelette. (Uh yeah, that’s fiction.)

Actually, I said, “Sure!” because I love Tara. I agreed to do it without giving it a thought. I didn’t start thinking about it until I got an e-mail from Tara, telling me that my turn to write a chapter was almost upon us. That’s when I started to panic.

Everyone told me to “just have fun with it!”

Alas, that’s not my style. Though I love writing and I do usually have fun doing it, I don’t normally just “let loose” and write, with the exception of writing these blog posts**. My style of preparation is more, shall we say, analytical. The book I hope to get published soon (SOON! Do you hear that, powers-that-be???) is a work of, naturally, non-fiction. I researched my brains out in order to write it. I’m always googling, searching for more information, assembling bits and pieces into larger chunks. That’s why, when I had to start writing my chapter for this novelette, I didn’t just start writing.

Oh, no.

First I went and re-read all of the chapters, from one through eleven.


Then–sorry, trees!–I copied all of the text in every chapter, pasted it all (in order) into a Word document, made the type as small as possible so I wouldn’t use up quite as much paper, and printed it all out***. I used a bright pink highlighter to mark up pieces of information I wanted to make sure to use in some way when I wrote my chapter.

Finally, I wrote.

And yes, I had fun with it.

Please go check out what I wrote, here.

Also, please consider reading from the very beginning, and of course to the end as the new chapters are posted (every Tuesday!). This is good stuff, and some of my favorite blogger friends are contributors. I’m told that this novelette should be done before the end of the year…then we start a new one!

I might even try to write my next chapter without so much prep work****.

*Tooting my own horn: a business letter-writing series I wrote for Nailpro magazine was nominated for a “Maggie” award, two years ago. It was, as they say, an honor to be nominated!
**Which are, as you know, non-fiction in nature.
***I will recycle this paper by using the back for phone doodles and other such notes.
****Haha, I crack myself up.


©2010 Suburban Scrawl


  • Tara R.

    Your hard work shows, Chapter 12 is awesome. One of my favorites so far. And yes, you will be recruited for our next novella too.

  • Ri, the Music Savvy Mom

    Okay, THIS cracked me up:

    Everyone told me to "just have fun with it!"

    Alas, that's not my style.

    (Going to read now…)

  • NYCPatty

    I also don't get when people "just have fun with it"…hello I'm a planner, so I get you.

    So of course being totally OCD I can't just start from your chapter so I have to start from the beginning!

    Can't wait to get to your! I'm so glad you posted it because I didn't catch the URL when I saw Suburban Wow!

  • Melissa B.

    I think you handled it really well, and, you know what? It has that non-fiction touch. I teach non-fiction writing, and it's also my favorite genre (read In Cold Blood, if you haven't aleady). You've nailed it with this one. Thanks for the great read!

  • Michelle

    Sucker! Oops, did I say that out loud? My bad.

    I will definitely go read it. I promise. Just not tonight. And likely not tomorrow when I'm again not home. Soon though… I bet it's great!

  • As Cape Cod Turns

    Excellent writing! Way to end it on a serious cliff hanger! Who knew you could write fiction? (I did, silly, I am just glad that you realized you could too!)

  • Momo Fali

    It's awesome! And, how did I not know about this?! Oh, that's right…because I've fallen off the face of the internet.