The Insecure Writer’s Support Group meets online on the first Wednesday of every month for the purpose of sharing expertise, discussing struggles and triumphs, and most especially propping supports underneath other struggling writers. Come, come join us and offer your own insecurities to the fresh air and sunshine. Fresh air kills insecurities, they’re exactly like viruses. Just trust me on this. To sign up for the group yourself, click here. You can also find the group on social media by finding @TheIWSG or #IWSG.

Our moderators for the April 7 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Pat Garcia, Lisa Buie Collard, Diane Burton, and, holy ink-spattered Blood of Dickens, me. It’s my first time hosting anything on the Wild Wild Interweb and the fact that I’m contributing to a group which has supported me for over two years now only makes it better. I’m so excited!

Let’s jump right in. The question for April 7th is: Are you a risk-taker when writing? Do you try something radically different in style/POV/etc. or add controversial topics to your work?

The answer to this question is:

Image from Aardman Animation Studios movie The Pirates

This is a confusing answer, I know. But it’s also the closest I can get to the raw truth so it will have to do. Am I risk-taking writer? Yes. Do I try different things? I SURE HOPE SO. I’m trying my damndest to be anything but boring. And yet at the same time I’m not taking big risks when it comes to my writing style, choosing my POVs, or the writing mechanics. I don’t—for example—write in a stream-of-consciousness extremely speculative fiction style. I use the same building blocks as any other author. Where I take my risks are in the structures I build with those blocks.

Romance contains endless probabilities and, gentle readers, many of them have already been proven. Pick a trope, pick a sexuality, pick a setting or particular time period and I can almost guarantee you there is already a romance book out there which has tried that combination. Our motto: If you can dream it, you can do it.

Feeling the urge to read a sweet second-chance romance set in a small town (specifically a forested yet farming community, and hold the cowboys, please.) You got it. You want a super filthy book built around a specific BDSM kink and set in modern Paris? No problem. Want a class-differences love story between a gentleman soldier and a thief lord set in historical London? Not to fear, Cat Sebastian is here! In the mood for a character who works in a particular profession? Wow are you in luck, we’ve got them all. From the Stone Age to Medieval, Georgian, Reconstruction/Civil War, Victorian, either of the World Wars, or Modern, we gotchu. Oh, you’d rather up the escapism with a paranormal romance about were-shifters with a side of Fated Mates trope? You may choose between your classic werewolves and bears, wildcats, badgers, or even bunnies and hedgehogs (no, I am not joking). We’ve got aliens, ice planets, desert planets, spaceships, space stations and prison planets. We’ve got heterosexual couples, same sex couples, bisexual couples supporting their ace-aro friends, menage, and reverse harem. Romance is also a genre with ownvoices authors writing diverse races, cultures, and life experiences. Infinite combinations are already out there, just waiting to be discovered.

So . . . yeah. When it comes to writing a romance, I’m not really doing anything new. I already know this. Instead, I am free to write exactly, specifically, what I would love to read. No matter how niche or obscure the tropes, they’re mine to play with. I can risk falling flat on my face by creating characters who are dealing with controversial topics as they navigate their relationship. I can take a chance and throw some pretty stiff obstacles in their way which readers might not have seen in another book before. I’m not doing any new things, I’m simply trying to do them in a new way.