My first loves as a children's book writer are comedy, action, adventure, and fantasy. These are the types of stories I love to read. They are my comfort zone. However, sometimes the best stories we come up with are the ones that don't come so easily. They are the ones that make us stretch our imaginations even more and let our thoughts run wild.
Right now, I'm working on my first historical/Christian fiction middle-grade novel. It is not in my wheelhouse. It's no where close to the type of story I usually read. However, the idea for this story is so interesting to me it cries out for me to write it. And so, I've put aside my anxieties of the unknown and plunged into this new genre full speed ahead.
Since starting this project, I've researched the time period and events around my main character's life and have hammered out a dozen plus chapters. My initial fears that I might be a terrible historical/Christian fiction writer have been replaced by a bit more confidence in myself as critique partners and my agent have encouraged me to continue the story after looking at the first chapters.
Now, if they had told me these first chapters weren't working, I might have scrapped the whole idea, but it seems the story is connecting with readers and so I have the boost I need to move forward into the unknown world that is historical/Christian fiction.
So, next time you get hit with an idea that is outside your comfort zone, don't be afraid to at least give it a shot. You might be surprised by the stories you can tell when you don't restrict your genre, but rather let your imagination and abilities carry you off to unexpected places to meet characters you never thought you'd write about.
For right now, that unexpected place I'm visiting on my computer screen is Ancient Capernaum in the time of Jesus and the characters I'm meeting in this formerly-quiet fishing village have given me a lot to think and write about.
Just remember, the old say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
So go venture already!