As part of a collective of authors exploring a superhero world, you might expect my fiction to be stuffed full of men in masks and super-powered villains. Sometimes it is. Sometimes, as with the recent publication of Location, Location, Location, it isn't.
For Location, which is a free fictional appetizer for a larger work appearing later, the hero is a young woman trying to establish a career in a city where "strange goings on" are part of life. Her adventure let me explore and expand a building that will be needed later for a novel.
Because the world of Cobalt City is established, and the big events are being set in motion by other authors, I can do what I like best: wander down the sidestreets and peer into some of the windows. It's very much the same as my philosophy of travel: see the big sights, but take time for the neighborhoods too! Writing in the corners of a shared world helps deepen the experience for the reader (the kind who like to wander off into the back alleys) as well as give authors even more flexibility to tell stories that they like.
At a recent comic book convention, an editor for Marvel mentioned that one way to break into his series was a willingness to write shorter stories, often involving minor or more neglected characters.* Everybody wants to do the climatic match-up of Wolverine vs Sabertooth, he pointed out, and everyone suggests that. Suggest something different when approached by an editor and you have a better chance of standing out in the crowd. Think about setting your writing in the corners of the shared world, not the center, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the flexibility, freedom, and creative challenge that those corners offer.
*Marvel, like many owners of bigger shared world properties, won't accept unsolicited story ideas for their properties. But if you've reached the point where they have expressed interest in your work -- the Marvel editor suggested getting some credits in independent comics to send them -- then they will ask for ideas for certain projects when they need to fill writing slots.