NaNoWriMo: Writing Outside My Comfort Zone?

I had the idea of writing a fantasy Book for NaNoWriMo this year rather than my usual Science Fiction. That for a start is a little outside my comfort zone. I’ve had ideas for fantasy stories in the past but they have all been spin offs of things I’ve read before, or more likely rip offs, with one concept changed.

I think I have a relatively original Idea, this year but time will tell, it started as a basic fantasy romp, unfortunately I don’t think there is enough substance in it to fuel a whole book, or if there is I have yet to come up with that substance.

So I’ve decided to once more step outside my comfort zone, originally my story was going to be quite tame, it was going to follow one main protagonist and his merry band of adventurers on their quest.  Except their quest as far as I could make out was not being where whomever was chasing them was… Which doesn’t really lend it’s self to a good story. The whole “Just keep running”  idea is just a bit crass I think.

So I’ve re-thunked my Idea and I’m adding a few levels to the story. The merry band of adventurers aren’t the only characters I’ll be focusing on, I’ve added a concept of politics and I’m creating a group of nation states that all fall under the rule of a single empire. I’ve only really got a skeletal plan for three of these nation states at the moment, but I think I like where it’s going.

I’ve also tried to add some severe brutality to to the story, this is seriously outside my comfort zone. In the past the worst I’ve ever done to a character (main or incidental) is to make their lives a little rubbish by sacking them, or making their significant others leave them. I’ve already got a rape scene, a few murders and political espionage plotted in at different parts of the story.

I’m not sure how I’m going to work this, but I think making it more brutal/controversial might make it more interesting to both read and write. I just hope I get the tone right, as I’m aware that sometimes it can seem like people writing about this kind of thing tend to desensitise it and or glorify it, the last thing I want to do is to glorify it, especially the rape scene, which I think is in there partially to illustrate just how evil a character is, but also how brutal the society is, I think I’m aiming for a fairly grim story world, and I don’t want to be afraid to push my characters to their limits.

I don’t know if it will work, if it doesn’t I can take it out, as it stands it’s not a cornerstone of the plot, but as the characters involved in the scene only came to me last night I can’t really say how that will change.

So far I’ve got just under 3,000 words of notes, which is two days NaNoWriMo work, I’m hoping to have more by the time that I start, because at the moment I have a setting, some characters ideas and a catalyst for a plot, but not actually a plot, which is kinda important.

I’ve also got another idea ferreting it’s way out in the back of my head which I am working hard on ignoring lest I lose focus before I even begin. Should be easy enough though as it’s completely unrelated.

So anyway, I’m writing out with my comfort zone, and hopefully it’s going to make the story more interesting.