Writing Advice From my Mom

Just off the phone with my mom and will return to my daily five pages in a moment. This is too funny. My mother, bless her, was trying to help when she said, “Have you ever thought of writing a potboiler? A little bit of sex, a little bit of humor, a little bit of mystery…you can’t go wrong.”

My mom is the most obessive reader I know, and her tastes epitomize the Average Reading Public that commercial publishers target. Could it be that what she said was wise rather than naive? Now I ask myself: Could I write what my mom called “an easy read for people”? Just to get my foot in the publishing door? Could I?

I’m not saying I couldn’t, but it comes down to loving the story I’m telling. So far, my love hasn’t veered me toward potboiler-dom. If I come up with a story idea that grooves me in that direction, well, okay then, but I don’t see myself saying, Okay, now I’m going to write a potboiler that fits the publishers’ favored formulas of the moment…

My brain filters life and story in certain patterns that probably don’t lend themselves to potboiler-dom. I’m not saying I’m high-falutin’ literary. I’m not, not at all. I consider my stuff more commercial than literary, but maybe it’s not as commercial as I think it is? Still a little too complex? A little too character-driven?

Frankly, I have no idea.

All I can say is that once upon a time I wrote a sex scene, and even then, the sex in the scene was a bit surreal and beside the point anyhow. The sex meant something else — which is what I’m saying here: I don’t have an “easy” mind, so how can I write an easy read for people?

I guess we’ll see where the stories take me. You never know. I leave myself open to anything my brain conjures up…