While working on rewrites of my upcoming novel, I've necessarily been thinking on a deeper level than usual. (If you smell something burning, it's probably my rusty brain gears.)
Why? Because this book is a historical, and my goals are: 1) to present historical events as they occurred through the viewpoint of one fictional character 2) to write characters that think and behave like real people, not like my idealized versions of real people. The French Revolution is not easily explained, and its events are anything but romantic.
My previous published books have all been genre romance. Is this necessarily a bad thing? No. But the romance genre is limited in its scope, and most of my 16 books and stories are quite simplistic. The extreme focus on romance can usually distract a reader from lack of actual plot and/or character development, and I often resorted to gimmicks to bring events about rather than building solid plots or characters. The fact that such gimmicks are widely accepted in the CBA-romance world doesn't make them good writing.
They make for trite, one-book-is-just-like-another writing. But what did it matter? I fulfilled my contracts and even won or placed in several major awards.
And I totally burned out on writing romance books. Any attempts to write a longer, more meaty novel crashed and burned--mainly because I did not actually know how to write a novel.
So who has been teaching me how to write? You guessed it: my daughter. Was it humbling for me, a multi-award-winning author, to be schooled by my daughter? You bet.
Was it good for me? Absolutely! I am a slow learner, but I think I did eventually catch on, and I am even starting to recognize and eliminate gimmicks from my own work. My editor can be counted to point out any I have overlooked, once she eventually gets her hands on the manuscript--and I sincerely hope she gets tough with me. Unlearning bad tricks gets harder with age, I think.
But the results are well worth it. :-)