Sunday 7 March 2021

Write Outside Your Comfort Zone by Melissa Gijsbers #ChaBooCha


Image by Sozavisimost from Pixabay

Write Outside Your Comfort Zone

About five years ago, I got a phone call from a friend asking if I had ever written fantasy stories. I hadn’t, mostly because fantasy hasn’t really been my genre, but said I would give it a go. 

The result was Lizzy’s Dragon, a middle grade chapter book that has been popular among dragon-loving kids. 

Since then, I have made a point of playing with different styles and genre. I already wrote picture books and novels as well as chapter books, however my experience with Lizzy’s Dragon has encouraged me to continue writing different stories – from fantasy to mystery, to real-life to comedy, and anything else I can come up with. 

There are articles that exist that say authors need to have a ‘brand’ including the sorts of stories they write. To me, this is boring and is not much of a challenge. I know that I want to be known for more than one type of book. 

Having a brand can be an advantage as kids will know what to expect when they pick up one of your books. On the other hand, by writing a variety of books and stories, you can introduce kids to a wide range of different styles and genre that can then introduce them to other authors and a general love of reading. 

The Chapter Book Challenge is the perfect time to have a play with your writing and experiment with different genre. You can ask questions in the group, where someone is bound to have written in the genre you are writing. There are also articles and resources to help if you are stuck with some aspect of writing in a genre you’re not quite so familiar with. 

Experimenting with a story in a different genre than you’re used to can take you to surprising places. Since writing my first fantasy book, I have started writing a few more. They still need work, but I’m having a lot of fun creating dragons and writing about unicorns and more. I never expected to be a fantasy author, but here I am. 

I would like to challenge you, during the Chapter Book Challenge, work on a story in a genre that may be different to what you usually write. You never know where it will take you. 


Melissa Gijsbers is an Australian author and booklover. She currently has three chapter books published, all written and edited during the Chapter Book Challenge, and one picture book. She lives in Gippsland in Victoria with her two teenage sons, their pet blue-tongue lizard, and two pet budgies. You can find her online at 


Prize Winner

Today's prize winner of a copy The Ancient Magus' Bride Vol. 1 by Kore Yamazaki, selected by a random number generator, is Judy Rubin! Congratulations, Judy Rubin. Please e-mail me with your mailing address and I will get your book out to you immediately. 



Today's giveaway is a copy of Yes! You Can Learn How to Write Beginning Readers and Chapter Books by Nancy I. Sanders. All you need to do to be entered into the drawing for this prize is be a signed-up member of ChaBooCha and comment on this blog post. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator and will be announced on the 14th of March 2021. The book will be sent out as soon as I am contacted by the winner with the correct address to send it to. If this book is not available at the time of purchase, an alternative book may be sent in its place.


  1. Thank you, Melissa, for your inspiring post. Moving out of genre sounds like a great motivation.

  2. If I try to write non-fantasy....the magic just appears. ;)

  3. Great advice! I was inspired by a family story last night to write a historical piece and I immediately said, oh I don’t write historical. But thanks to this article, what if I can?

  4. It is great to try different genres and read them.

  5. It's fun to try new voices and genres. I'm hoping that by trying a chapter book I will feel free to experiment more. This book looks like something I need to read! Thanks!

  6. Thanks for the post, always a good thing to challenge yourself.

  7. I agree with you that it's okay to write in more than one genre. I personally write picture books, historical fiction chapter books, young adult fantasy novels, flash fiction, and inspirational essays.

    Great post!