Come play inside a writer's brain, scary!


If you compare what you’re writing now with some of your earlier work, you should be able to see how far you’ve come. Certainly most writers will have made progress in areas of craft – such as being able to put words together more skilfully, and share story background with less “telling” and more “showing.”

You’ve probably also learned how to motivate your characters so they come across as real human beings with desires and goals we, as readers, can relate to.

But there are other kinds of growing writers can, and should, be doing.

Are you keeping up with trends?

This doesn’t mean slavishly imitating the current best-seller, whether it’s 50 shades of gratuitousness or the latest da vinci whatever. It means being aware of developments in the writing world. We know readers are increasingly reading our books on devices from ereaders to smart phones.

Have you seen how your chapters look on an iPhone? For more on this, check out “What’s Going on with Readers Today?” at

Some writers gloat about not understanding the electronic world and social media. Sure, it’s time consuming, occasionally time wasting, but that’s up to the user. When politicians are taking to social media in droves, you can be sure it’s because that’s where the voters are. Do you know where your readers are? Keeping up with them on social media makes perfect sense.

If you’ve been writing for some time, are you breaking new ground with your current work? 

Settling into a writing rut not only risks losing readers, it also bores the writer. Next time you write a scene that’s similar to what you’ve done before, challenge yourself to write it in a completely fresh way.

If you usually write novels, try a novella or a short story. Perhaps even some poetry. If you write in one genre, try reading in a few others to see if your voice would fit in any of them. Recently I ventured into digital-first publishing with my book, Birthright, a long novel that crossed over between romance and science fiction. No guarantees of success, but it’s a lot of fun and taking me in directions I’d almost forgotten I loved.

You can do this too. Try mixing up your romance with a dash of paranormal. Or your romantic suspense with a shot of inspirational. These days there are no limits to what a writer can try, and who knows, your little experiment may just catapult you into best-sellerdom. As a writer, what are you doing to keep your work fresh? Share your comments here.



on Twitter @ValerieParv and Facebook

Read some reviews already up at





Comments on: "Are you growing as a writer?" (7)

  1. I’m still so fresh to the field that I feel I am like one of those grassy white wines that have been taken too early from their vat. But already I can see that it would be easy to write the same people – or at least the same voices – over and over. Changing from third to first person and back again helps, I find, as does setting stories in unfamiliar places. Perhaps it makes me concentrate more? Great post, as always, Valerie.

    • LOL at grassy wine, Imelda, all writers have to start somewhere. I agree that changing POV does help, even within a manuscript, as does exploring a new setting. For me, going deep into “who these people are” is the key to making scenes fresh – after all, it’s the first time for the two people concerned, no matter how many romances I may have orchestrated 🙂

  2. I put it in the fridge to keep it fresh.

    But seriously, yes, I shudder when I compare how I write today to how I wrote, say 5 years ago, 8 years ago. Fresh is a struggle, but I’ve identifed several of my favorite foils and working to ease them out and ease in something, well, fresh. S’not easy, but it is worth it. I’d love to try something dystopic, sci-fi/fantasy (love Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series) and paranormal. Now all I need is the TIME and a braincell that’s not exhausted from Life.

    • When you find that braincell supplier, let me know! Glad you’ve found your favourite props and are working to change them. We all have them, and sometimes it takes an editorial eye to spot them. Hope you find the time (make the time?) to explore those new directions.

  3. I sure hope I’ve grown as a writer since you read that manuscript of mine so long ago, Valerie! Currently I’m being challenged though with a manuscript set in an area I’ve never been to. Very challenging as well as time consuming and don’t want to attempt that again any time soon!
    And no, not writing this because of any “trend”. To do that can be a waste of time when I’m now taking so long to finish a manuscript. the trend will have moved on to something else by the time it reached the bookshelves – or e-reader even.

    • I’ve no doubt you have, Mary. Your publishing record speaks for itself. Keep us posted on the new project and never say “never” LOL. So true about trends moving on by the time we’re reading the books.

  4. I try very hard to ensure I never repeat myself when writing as it’s something I dislike when reading books. Whether the repeat be in the same novel or a different one. And, of course, I’m taking an online class with a fabulous, professional writer that’s helping me keep ideas fresh. 🙂

    Hello, Queen Imelda *waving*.

    And I’m afraid I have to admit that I go to the same exercise class as the cat.

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