Think a moment of your writing style and then what you would do if a high-profile publisher asked you to write something totally out of your comfort zone (with a healthy advance, of course.)
I imagine myself being asked to write a picture book children’s story set in a magical land with unicorns, fairies and an exorbitant amount of frogs waiting to be kissed.
I think it would go something like this:
Once upon a time in the land of Floppitt, there lived a wee little lad who adored beautiful scenery. He spent the majority of his time, dreaming of the day he would be able to photograph the beautiful scenery of Floppitt.
The wee little lad had been saddled with the name of Scrunch. Now, these indeed were lofty goals for one such as the wee little one known as Scrunch. You see, Floppitt contained no beautiful scenery or camera with which to shoot beautiful pictures.
One day a frog named Frank jumped upon Scrunch’s shoulder. He promised Scrunch that for a single kiss he would show him the neighboring land of Gerbelgeizer.
Scrunch knew of the fabled land of beauty, but dismissed it as just that.
Frank continued to pressure Scrunch until, just to shut him up, Scrunch snatched Frank off his shoulder and kissed him slap on the mouth. He sat Frank down. The small frog burped several times, but did nothing more. You see, the amphibians of Floppitt are chronic liars.
Scrunch saw red. He moved backward three steps then took two more to the left. He lined Frank up between two vertical tree limbs about thirty yards away. He raised his left hand, screamed, “Hut!” three times, and then took off toward Frank.
Just as Scrunch’s foot connected with Frank’s face, Frank grew into the ugliest three-foot tall princess ever seen in the world of Floppitt.
Scrunch pulled back just in time to prevent breaking any bones against Frank’s horrendous feet. At least he thought that’s what they were.
“What happened to you?” Scrunch asked.
“What do you mean?” Frank replied.
“C’mon man you’re so ugly you’d have to sneak up on an outhouse,” Scrunch said. He started to gag then bent over and emptied the contents of his stomach. He rose, glanced at Frank, and began a solid fifteen minutes of the dry heaves.
“Are you ready to go to Gerbelgeizer?” Frank excitedly asked.
“I don’t know. I think maybe I’d be better off staying here and drawing stick figures in the mud.”
“What about the beautiful pictures I promised to show you?” Frank implored. He closed his eyes, slightly crouched, and exuded a bout of flatulence that stripped the hair from Scrunch’s head.
When Scrunch awoke, Frank was bent over trying to revive him. Frank’s mouth covered Scrunch’s entire face. He could feel the noxious air moving through his mouth, down his throat, into his lungs and stomach. He didn’t know what to do in this desperate situation.
Frank rose taking a deep breath as he did so. He noticed Scrunch was awake but appeared to be close to death.
Scrunch attempted to protest as Frank moved in for another round of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Unable to resist due to the enormous amount of ugly placed on his body at one time, Scrunch refused to take another breath and expired surrounded by the foulness of Frank.
When Frank saw what she had done, she scooped up Scrunch’s lifeless body and ran to the only lake in the land of Floppitt. She pushed Scrunch’s head under the water hoping to suck the stink from the dying cells in his body.
As Scrunch miraculously began to stir, Frank intentionally looked at her reflection in the surface of the lake. Her reflection was so startling she popped into the air. At the same time Scrunch rose from water pulling in great quantities of air.
Scrunch inched his way onto the bank, bringing himself to a sitting position. A small object fell into his lap.
“Say, Frank,” Scrunch asked, “where ya been?”
“Hey, back,” Frank replied. “Just hanging around.”
“You know what?” Scrunch said. “It sure is beautiful out here.”
“You got it, brother,” Frank said. “Who would ever want to leave a place like this?”
“Ditto all over that,” Scrunch said. “Yes, sir, ditto all over that.”
So this is what happens when an author steps outside of his comfort zone. Just remember authors don’t let fellow authors think outside the box. It’s entirely too scary and it just ain’t right.
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