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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Deja Vu 2012 Blog Fest: The Day of the Do Over

Deja Vu 2012 Blog Fest: The Day of the Do Over

Welcome to the Deja Vu Blog Fest: The Day of the Do Over, where we recycle old blog posts that might have been missed or under-appreciated during the year.  I picked this one because I had NO IDEA where it was going to lead me.

In February of 2012, I wrote a post titled Leaving the Comfort Zone:

I saw this image on Facebook last week. It was posted by Laurie Baum Olson and came to my attention via my high school friend, Kathryn Kane. And it made me think.
Specifically, it made me think about two writing projects lurking in the back of my mind, which I’ve been reluctant to attempt because they’re outside my comfort zone.  In fact, I already made a half-hearted attempt at one of them and gave up after only a couple weeks of working on it because it was “just not me.”
But if it wasn’t really my thing, why is the idea still hanging around, bothering me?
If I tally up all my completed and in-progress manuscripts – I’ve got 1 historical fiction, 1 historical mystery, 3 historical with a paranormal bent, and 2 historical with a science fiction bent.  See the pattern?
But one of the stories “bothering” me is a contemporary ghost story and the other is a contemporary fantasy.  The second one might even have the potential to be MG instead of YA, if I play around with it a bit. (My fifth grade students keep asking why I don’t write anything for their grade level!) 
Both these projects are well outside my comfort zone. The contemporary setting scares me a little, because I know I have to nail the voice of modern characters instead of historical ones, and the world building I’d need for a fantasy scares the bejeebers out of me.
But this little graphic got to me. I don’t know if there really is a place just outside my comfort zone where all the magic is happening. However, I’ll never find out if I don’t stretch and grow a little.

I’ve made up my mind to attempt one of those projects this year.


I ended up choosing the fantasy, in spite of my worries about world-building, and started writing it in April. This manuscript led me in August to Mexico, to research the setting of the climax …


And in October, it led to this:

Author of the forthcoming YA novel THE CAGED GRAVES, Dianne Salerni’s MG debut THE EIGHTH DAY, about a mysteriously orphaned boy who discovers a secret day hidden between Wednesday and Thursday and the beautiful girl he finds next door, hiding from people who’d use her to destroy the seven day world as we know it, to Barbara Lalicki at Harper Children’s, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, in a pre-empt, by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger (world English). 

I think the moral of the story is pretty clear.
In 2013, how will YOU leave your comfort zone?

I totally failed at transferring Mr. Linky’s link for the participants of this blog. 🙁 But you can pop over and see the list at Cruising Altitude 2.0.

30 Responses to Deja Vu 2012 Blog Fest: The Day of the Do Over

  1. Cindy Dwyer says:

    This post was definitely worth re-sharing. I loved the message and it was great to also read the result.

    I think you should continue to reach outside of your comfort zone – maybe all the way into adult fantasy. If you could find a way to squeeze that extra day in between Saturday and Sunday, I guarantee you’d achieve huge success!

  2. So awesome Dianne. I’m so excited about your fantasy. In fact, I’d love to interview you when it comes out and was planning on e-mailing you about it.

  3. Great post – how fantastic it worked out for you, and you got a great trip to Mexico 🙂

    I’m not sure I have a comfort zone either with my writing or my real life. Perhaps my aim for 2013 should be to enjoy the comfort!!

  4. Oh, that is a good one, Diane!

    I bet you enjoyed looking back on this post too never thinking it would end up selling let alone get written. 🙂

  5. I LOVE that picture (the comfort zone illustration). I truly believe that life does indeed begin there 🙂

  6. Chris Fries says:

    Wonderful choice for the Deja Vu, Dianne! And I love the real-life success that came from you following through and getting out of your comfort zone!!!!

    I also love the illustration! But, ummm… notice how much uncharted territory there is outside both “Your Comfort Zone” AND “Where the Magic Happens.” I picture myself wandering through that abyss, hopelessly flailing for the magic land, lol!

    ;^)

  7. Robin says:

    Perfect Deja Vu post. And inspiring that you stuck with it-stayed outside your comfort zone, wrote, and SOLD an incredible book.
    These days I’m feeling like my bubbles are pretty far apart, and a have a wall in between them. But I’m a rock climber, so…it’ll happen…eventually, because I want to live where the magic happens:)

  8. DL Hammons says:

    I remember the original post…but never put two and two together. Who knew a little Deja Vu could prove to be so inspirational! Thank you for re-sharing today! 🙂

  9. Oh what a cool choice for the re-run, especially since venturing outside your comfort zone led to such a good result. The original post made a good point, but the results proved it.

  10. mshatch says:

    hehe, I remember when you started that little story 🙂

  11. SA Larsenッ says:

    Ooh, the dreaded comfort zone. (Kind of an oxymoron, I know.)

    I’ll admit. I am a slave to my comfort zone at times. But what’s funny is that during those times I’m also restless as heck. Go figure.

  12. Yay, for leaving your comfort zone! What an amazing trip it’s been so far.

  13. Your post both motivates me and scares me, Dianne. Fear of failure keeps us in the comfort zone…but so does fear of success. So glad you stepped outside of yours. 🙂

  14. I am hoping and praying for a new job (re leaving my comfort zone).

    Visiting from the Deju Vu Blogfest.

    Come and join my Countdown to Kitschmas – thriftshopcommando.blogspot.com

  15. Arlee Bird says:

    Yes, the old comfort zone can be a difficult place to dislodge oneself from. Glad to hear your move resulted in success.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

  16. michelle says:

    I love the comfort zone illustration above… and when I saw it, the first thing that popped into my mind was the “thinking out-of-the-box concept”…
    A great post!
    I’m visiting from the Deja-Vu blogfest.

  17. Jenny says:

    Love the illustration and the post. In 2013 I’m going to get out of my “endless revisions” comfort zone and finally get to the end of a half-finished project!

  18. JJ says:

    I make it a lifetime habit to leave. Great post! I am now your newest follower.

  19. farawayeyes says:

    OK, you got me. I’m leaping outside my comfort zone immediately. Great post, something I definitely needed to hear. Glad I didn’t miss it on the second time around. Glad you choose to post it.

  20. Cynthia says:

    New follower here. saying hello from the Deja Vu blogfest…I’m so glad to hear that taking a risk paid off for you. The premise of your book sounds neat.

  21. Lydia Kang says:

    So glad you went out of that comfort zone!

  22. Em says:

    I write contemporary fantasy, so I thought I’d share a link to Patricia C. Wrede’s questions for worldbuilding, if you don’t already know them. They can be pretty helpful. Here’s the link: http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

    I’m a bit out of my comfort zone on what I’m writing at the moment & it wouldn’t leave me alone so here I am. I so get that!

  23. Gossip_Grl says:

    Nice posting! My comfort zone is humor. If I can wake up and find something humorous to either blog about or laugh about, to me it’s a good day. I am definitely one who gets nervous stepping outside of my comfort zone. Thanks for posting this I used to think it was only me. Enjoyed reading and Happy Holidays!

  24. Great post. I stepped out of my comfort zone when I decided to start writing. 🙂

  25. Wow! Your upcoming novel sounds fantastic. Congratulations.

    This is a great post. I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone recently and while it’s still rocky, it’s probably my best work yet.

  26. Nicole says:

    I think I remember this one. That first graphic says it all. Thanks for highlighting this again!

  27. Lexa Cain says:

    Yay for venturing out of those comfort zones! I’ve just decided on a new project that’s going to be New Adult, despite the fact many think it isn’t a real category. ‘S’okay by me! I need a change and this is the beginning of it. 😀

  28. What a great post and congratulations too! I find that stepping out of my comfort zone forces me to focus harder and stretches my imagination a little more. Some of my best writing has been when I stepped out of my comfort zone.

  29. Awesome post! So glad you re-shared it. I try to stretch outside my comfort zone regularly, so I hope for the same kind of ending. Congratulations to you!

    Late finishing the Deja Vu visiting, as the power went out the other night when I was in the middle of it!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

  30. Lauren says:

    I missed this blog-hop somehow.

    A few months ago I decided to step outside my “comfort zone” and wrote a 1st person POV urban fantasy short story for Writers of the Future. (I don’t do 1st person, or urban fantasy, or short stories) It didn’t place, but now I’m going to put it out there and I’m terrified. WHAT IF PEOPLE WANT MORE! AHAHAHAHGGGGGGHHHHH!!!

    One of my writing group buddies says “Then you write more.”

    Lauren