Friday 3 June 2016

Find Your Writing DNA

A few weeks ago, I attended the Meet the Publishers event. This was an amazing day and I came home with pages of notes about writing and publishing.

One message that came through in every session was this:

Find your writing DNA

This may sound like a strange comment, however, it makes a lot of sense when they explained it more.

Essentially, it means write what you write. Not everyone will be able to write in every genre.

If you write for children, for example, then write for children. Don't think that you should write for adults. If you find that writing for older children is your thing, then write that and don't feel that you should write picture books.

This is true for me. I remember one time in high school we were told to write a horror story. This is not my genre - I get nightmares watching horror movies, so I don't watch them. My story ended up being a romance between a monster and a human!!

I think this is also true as a Christian author. I have tried writing what would traditionally be classed as a Christian book, one that has a strong Christian message. Whenever I do, they sound fake and forced. Instead I write stories for a general market, however they do come from a Christian point of view as that is where I'm coming from.

Whatever stories we write, we need to find our writing DNA. In doing this, we will write the best stories we can.

Hearing the publishers tell us all to find our writing DNA was so encouraging for me. There are times when I think I should write something else - picture books, novels, etc - but I know that writing middle grade fiction is where I am right now, and that's OK.

Melissa Gijsbers lives in Melbourne with her two teenage boys and pet blue tongue lizard. She writes flash fiction as well as middle grade novels.

You can follow her writing journey at and

Photo Source - Public Domain Pictures


  1. Hi Melissa, that is great advice indeed. I've been a homeschooling mum and friends have suggested that I try to write some middle grade fiction as you do, but I know I just couldn't get the tone and feeling right, much as I enjoy them. We should experiment with different genres only if we feel comfortable, and only we know that.

    1. I know I experiment with different genre all the time. I have half written novels, picture book manuscripts, etc, but none of them are quite right.

  2. That's a really good point, Melissa. Enjoyed that!

  3. Excellent Advice Melissa.I love that description. Wow my DNA = passion is Victoriana so I'll stick with it.


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