I've been a little disappointed with the paranormal romance genre lately. In fact, the last book I tried to read, I couldn't finish. It feels so formulaic. So rehashed. Why are we all writing the same things over and over?
A little tip for my fellow writers of the genre: if it's a trope, don't use it. Please. It is by definition already cliche. It does nothing for you. It makes your story stale.
Whenever people ask me what advice I'd give to aspiring writers, I always say the same thing: take a creative writing course. Some writers -- even those with big money publishing houses -- think they don't need courses in writing, even that courses will cramp their style and put off their 'voice'.
Come on. Don't be arrogant. Writing takes a great deal of talent but it also takes training. You need to understand structure and development and device. You need to understand how other authors use these tools, and when they use them well, and when they use them badly.
So I amend my previous advice. Writers don't just need at least one creative writing course. They need a good, solid exposure to critical reading, as well.
I've also often heard, from some of the biggest names in the market, that you can't truly write unless you also read. Allow me to expand on that as well: read more. Read more than ever. Read different genres and new authors. Read the classics, read today's best-sellers. Expose yourself to a wider and more diverse world of literature. I see so many books that haven't yet broken out of the realms of "friend fiction" -- the kind you share with like-minded individuals in your close circles, who will all agree how lovely and creative you are. And there's nothing wrong with that scenario, nothing at all. But it's beginner's stuff. We need to outgrow the training wheels. We need to try for heights like the big names, and really make an effort.
And we have to write our own stories. We have to break out of tropes and the formulae so many writers have already exhausted. We need to write work that is different. Work that stands out.
If writing is a profession for you, you need to be professional about it.