Sunday, March 4, 2012

SOLSC: Out of the Comfort Zone

Today I finished a great book called Anna Dressed in Blood. It's a novel about a boy who moves around with his mom, who is a witch, and he kills ghosts that kill people. His latest target is a ghost named Anna, who kills people who enter her home. The ghost story goes that Anna was murdered wearing a white dress that, upon her death, was covered in blood. Hence the name.

I loved every page. There wasn't a moment that I stepped back and wondered if I loved it because a fellow reader had recommended it to me. The plot moved quickly enough to keep me interested and the characters were authentically teenagers without being stereotypical. I particularly admire the author because she is a woman who writes from a teen guy's point of view, something I would find terribly challenging. I tend to write with a female protagonist because that's where I feel safe; I know that world so completely.

Thinking about this book and the challenges the author must have faced about getting inside the head of a teenage boy got me thinking about going beyond the Comfort Zone. When I consider the way this novel worked, I recognize that the plot itself could have been minimally impacted if the author had chosen to flip the gender roles of all the characters. But she didn't. She chose to write from an unfamiliar perspective and embrace what had to be a difficult task. How often do we intentionally breach our own sense of familiarity? How many times do we choose the safer route for no other reason than that it is the one we know?

I find myself guilty of playing it safe at times where I could easily be challenged by taking a different approach. Sometimes we can blame society or our own cultural influences, but other times the only one to blame is yourself. This week I am going to take at least one risk where I know I could play it safe, just to stretch my own boundaries. I need to get out of my Comfort Zone.

Wish me luck!

1 comment:

Looking for the Write Words said...

I love when a book nudges me in some way. A hallmark of a good book, for sure. Good luck with stretching out of your comfort zone. Food for thought. Thank you. ~Theresa