So I have been stalled with my current story as I figure out how many plot lines I actually have going at the moment. I've got a good handle on them now I think but I decided to let them stew and to work on a horror story for a contest with Writer's Digest. I haven't yet decided if I am going to submit it to the actual Writer's Digest Horror Story contest or if I'm just going to submit it to the forum version of said contest. One's free and one costs money, but one wins money for that monetary submission and one wins little trophies for the forum.
Now. That being said, regardless of where I end up submitting it, I've been finding some interesting things while I've been working on it. First of all being that I am most definitely not a horror writer. Secondly I've realized that writing this other genre (regardless of my personal feelings toward it) is definitely stretching my writing skills and imagination. And thirdly, I am both more and less critical of my work. More because I'm trying to make it a horror story that I would read and less because I don't usually read horror so I don't have as much to compare it to. Now either way I'm definitely going to be taking advantage of the Writer's Digest Critique section to try and improve it since I don't believe that's against the rules for either contest. (of course I'll be checking that first).
I don't know what most writers would recommend in regards to writing outside your genre but I have read over and over again that writers should also be avid readers. Not only should they be readers in their own genre but in as many different areas as possible. I think that writing has the same reasoning to it. If you want to write a really tense scene in a fantasy novel then why not study how to write thrillers or horrors? Depending on the feel you want for the scene I can only see studying that genre assisting in your final creation. Stories need to be well crafted in all aspects and few stories are exactly the same the entire way through. So, my foray into horror is at the very least an interesting exercise because it's challenging. Perhaps I'll try writing a short romance next... I've never liked those though I usually like some aspect of it in my fantasy. Go figure!