I've written a few books that have pushed my comfort zone. The Sky is Dead about a homeless teenager. Final Admission with a character who is being abused (the abuse is not between the MCs - just to say). Both of them took some effort to write the darker scenes. I am more comfortable writing them 'off-scene'. That's a recurring theme in a lot of my books. What happened in the past and the effect it has on the present. But sometimes you have to make the problems front and centre.
One was a movie with Keanu Reeves, John Wick. I watched this over Christmas, with no knowledge of what it was about. I don't do well with graphic violence, and there was a lot in this film. I watched it to the end and I thought it was good, but I have to admit it pushed my limits. I have no desire to see number 2 despite my love for all things Keanu, but boy did it make me think of how to write a good, sparse thriller.
I took the afternoon off yesterday to go to out with J.L Merrow. We took a trip to The Last Tuesday Society and The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, near Bethnal Green.
It certainly is a curious place. The ground floor is a cocktail bar which you share with skeletons and dead animals of various sorts. Jaime and I spent a happy couple of hours sampling the drinks menu. I would thoroughly recommend Green Lady (gin-based with lime and absinthe). The snacks menu seem to be involve insects. I didn't partake.
Then we took a wander around the museum. It is very dick-centric, dark. Plenty of old het porn novels, old drawings of sex and a mummified dick, sprinkled in amongst shells, bones and other paraphernalia. I'm not sure it's quite my thing, and it made me uncomfortable, but this place certainly make me think.
It's good to be pushed. You don't have to like something to find it of value. Interviews make my knees knock but it's a valuable form of promotion. I didn't like John Wick, but I think it was a good film. Yesterday's visit made my flesh creep, but it rattled a few plot bunnies. Not all research is fluffy.
If someone asks you to do something that pushes your comfort zone, and it's a) legal and b) good business, go for it. Don't think about it too much. Just grasp the opportunity. Even if it involves insects or interviews, there'll be something of benefit there.