40 Days of 3 Questions: Day 37

Welcome to 40 Days of 3 Questions!

For the next few weeks, meet here every morning with a notebook or document to answer three questions about writing, about your status quo as a writer, or about the writing life. You can answer briefly and go about your day, or you can use this as a warm up exercise before your regular writing schedule. Whatever works for you, works for me.

Day 37 Questions:

  1. What’s the most daring (to you) story you’ve ever written?
  2. Why is it so daring—subject, style, switch of genre?
  3. Do you think of yourself as a brave writer, a safe one, or in between?

You may post answers in comments or keep your thoughts private–your choice!

And here is today’s pretty picture:

This daring horse is leaping across candles on my fireplace mantle.

18 thoughts on “40 Days of 3 Questions: Day 37

  1. Most daring? I’d have to say NO WAY HOME because of the duel setting. It was a logistical nightmare on many levels. Unlike the fictionalized Pennsylvania setting I usually stick to, I chose to use very real locations out in New Mexico. Plus I introduced a Navajo character, which was a huge leap out of my comfort zone. As for brave or safe? Safe is boring. I love to stretch my boundaries, although I usually question “what was I thinking?” at least a dozen times in the process.

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  2. I wrote – and submitted – a short piece of erotica set in West Africa, but it wasn’t accepted. ‘Nuff said about why it was daring for this cozy author! I’m not an over-daring writer for my contract work. I tend to try new things in short fiction, like my story that will appear in this year’s Malice anthology. I’d like to break into domestic suspense and multiple points of view but just haven’t gotten there yet.

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  3. The most daring story I have ever written was about child abuse in a Catholic school. It was daring because it was based on events from my life. (No, I wasn’t an abused student, but my friend was one.) I would consider myself to be a grave writer because the majority of stories, blogs and essays I write are true and taken from my life.

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  4. I’d say the bravest piece of writing I’ve done to date was the short story submitted for the Into The Woods anthology, simply because it’s a genre I’ve been toying with, but this is the first time I’ve carried it through to completion. Normally I write about real life, real people or at least people who could be real, but I’m drawn to other perspectives, like Butterfly’s, or Winter’s. Why shouldn’t their voices be heard? And I’m drawn to creating a different reality which only partially deviates from our world, particularly if those deviations act as a mirror for reality. From where I’m sitting today, I think I’ve not been as brave as I’d like to be as a writer. That said, whenever you tackle something new, you’re being brave, so surely every step along the process of learning and developing writing is a sort of brave in its own right. In this sense, I hope to keep on exercising my brave, and exploring new areas that draw me.

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  5. That horse is magnificent! Where can I get one like it?
    The most daring thing I ever wrote was an account of my personal medical woes (scoliosis and spinal collapse, good times, y’all!) for a medical publication.
    It’s hard to write about ones troubles, I found, without seeming maudlin.
    Nevertheless I managed it.

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  6. The most controversial story I’ve ever written was by accident. I wrote a story about a man who uses nanotechnology to get rid of an unborn child, a topic fraught with political and ethical controversy. It was also my first attempt at medical science fiction. I wish I could write more fiction without fearing ramifications.

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  7. 1.) What’s the most daring (to you) story you’ve ever written? My 2019 Webb’s Glass Shop mystery was very challenging for me to write. I nearly quit writing altogether.
    2.) Why is it so daring—subject, style, switch of genre? The victim is killed in a hit and run accident. When I was nine, my younger brother was hit by a car right in front of me. We’ve both been affected by the trauma since then. Don’t worry, he recovered beautifully, but there are lingering phobias. I didn’t drive until I was 25. He didn’t learn to drive until he was over 30. Neither of us like to drive with anyone else in the car.
    3.) Do you think of yourself as a brave writer, a safe one, or in between? I challenge myself with each book to make damn sure its better than the last. That’s brave.

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  8. Good questions, as you can see from the interesting answers. Funny thing, I wrote a blog this week on writing what scares us! One of the pleasures of writing short story is to explore an idea that maybe we couldn’t, or wouldn’t want to, sustain for a novel. My most daring was a story with with a male narrator who was a quite sleazy human being. I think I pulled it off but I certainly wouldn’t want to be in his head for any longer. Question #3 – I’m not a brave writer and probably would benefit from being more daring. For more: https://trissstein.blogspot.com/2018/03/writing-what-scares-us_18.html

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  9. What’s the most daring (to you) story you’ve ever written? Wow, I don’t consider anything I’ve written really “daring.” Maybe the historical?

    Why is it so daring—subject, style, switch of genre? It was outside my comfort zone because I’ve always written contemporary. I didn’t think I could pull off a novel-length work writing about the past.

    Do you think of yourself as a brave writer, a safe one, or in between? Um, kind of in between I guess. I don’t always jump willingly, but after I do I generally commit to whatever I’m doing.

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  10. 1. My latest novel, THE LAST SUTTEE, is the most daring book I have ever written. It’s subject matter, the Hindu custom of immolation of a widow on the funeral pyre of her husband, has troubled me since I was a teenager. I wanted to be like the novel’s courageous and compassionate protagonist. As I did not get an opportunity to revolt against this terrible custom in person, it felt good to do it in my fictional dream. Her against the whole community!

    2. The custom of suttee continues to thrive in the veins of women and men of Rajasthan where in 1987 the suttee, on which my novel is based, took place. Early last year, when the movie, Padmavati about the suttee of a fourteenth century Hindu queen, was released massive protests and violent riots were held in the state, injuring hundreds. Evidently, the custom is still held in reverence in the hearts and minds of some people. It seems they would have no qualms sacrificing a young widow but for the strict laws against it.

    3. A brave writer? I would like to call myself bold and courageous. But it is for my readers to find out. I certainly feel free to express my opinion about any topic that shakes my values and makes me uneasy. Isn’t it the responsibility of creative people, the people who live on the fringe of a society to go against the current, never to fit into a mould. Just as your posts reflect.

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  11. What’s the most daring (to you) story you’ve ever written? Years ago I went to a writing conference and sat in a session about making money with writing. Two types of stories were “money-makers” according to the presenter. They were the True Story and True Romance first person stories and erotica which could be any POV. Since I was uncomfortable using “I” with either of the True-type stories I decided to try erotica. It was probably terrible, but I decided I was too embarrassed to send it out even under a pseudonym because any response would come to my home address. It was the story of a single woman who worked in a boring job and on the side had this other life.
    Why is it so daring—subject, style, switch of genre? See above.
    Do you think of yourself as a brave writer, a safe one, or in between? I have not thought of myself in these terms. I’m probably braver than I was a few years ago. As I write these stories that just won’t go away, I hope I am brave enough to write them true to the real story.

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  12. 1. What’s the most daring (to you) story you’ve ever written?
    That might be a tossup among several. Novels, my Neanderthal series. Short stories, a few of them featuring cops, strippers, serial killers, etc.
    2. Why is it so daring—subject, style, switch of genre?
    For those novels, subject and style, and writing about something I can never verify. But no one else can either. For the short stories, the harder-boiled style is definitely out of my comfort zone.
    3. Do you think of yourself as a brave writer, a safe one, or in between?
    I think I’m sort of daring. But, let’s face it, anyone who has the chutzpah to think anyone will publish or read what they’ve written, is brave.

    Only 3 more days. I’m going to miss these when they’re gone!

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  13. What’s the most daring (to you) story you’ve ever written? Why is it so daring—subject, style, switch of genre? My stand-alone, still in revisions, because it’s written in shifting 3d person with multiple POV characters and a dual timeline, and because it’s set in part in the time and place where I grew up. Also two short historicals — the first will be in Alfred Hitchcock’s May-June issue — because they’re historical and the lead character is a former slave, and I want to get the history and her experience/perspective as right as I can.

    Do you think of yourself as a brave writer, a safe one, or in between? I’ve never thought in those terms, but I love Kaye’s point: simply writing, and seeking publication, is brave. Cheers to us all!

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  14. The most daring story I ever wrote? The first one.
    Why? I felt revealed, exposed, vulnerable to all and that thought nearly scared me to death.
    Am I a brave, safe or an in-be- writer? Probably a safe to in-be.

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  15. Guess it depends what you define as daring. My first book (non-fiction/technical) was early in my career. My boss was asked to write a technical book that would be definitive in our field. Being an awesome mentor, he pointed to me and said ‘she will write it.’ CRAP!. OK This was 1989. Started on an electric typewriter but switched quickly to a ‘computer’. No internet to do research. I spent huge amounts of hours in the library to capture all the references to focus the book. I was a young assistant professor and this was my first big ‘break’ in my career. I said yes and though I didn’t have a clue to what I was doing, I wrote a book. Glad I was so nieve because if I understood what it took, I would have been scared silly! But I did it, it was wildly successful, wrote a second follow-up and a revised first edition. Sometimes it pays to be stupid.

    As far as fiction, readers don’t generally like innovation. They like comfort and familiarity. As a fiction author, as much as I would like to explore outside the box, I understand that my readers want what I’ve given them in the past. But, I do understand that if you leave the box there is a chance that the new box is wildly successful. Each author must make their own path.


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