Sometimes, I Wish…

Sometimes, I wish I could write the kind of bland, unexciting, generic stuff that lines the shelves of libraries and bookstores.

Here’s one about the women in a book club, or a knitting club, or a writing group.  Two sisters open a cupcake shop or an art gallery, or three sisters take a holiday in Ireland or Italy and find romance.  Lifelong friends weather what life throws at them:  cancer, cheating husbands, wayward kids.

Seriously?  When I have an idea like that, I think to myself, “No one would ever buy this.”

Apparently, I am mistaken.

Sadly, I do not have the stomach of steel required to write such a book before dying of boredom.

A character-driven story that meanders around for a couple hundred pages, heads to a climactic event and resolves itself in a neat and tidy ending.  No big words.  A stereotypical character or two:  a driven career woman who “learns what’s important;” a homemaker who “finds her true path;” a handsome cad; a “good guy” in flannel shirts and workboots.  A little humor, a little romance, a little self-doubt…  

Have I put you to sleep yet?  But the shelves are teeming with these books.

I could draw on my experience as a divorce lawyer and write about a woman in her 40s who starts divorce proceedings because she’s “not happy” (by far the most common reason I heard), fools around with another man, and then discovers that what she really needs to do is quit being selfish and honor the commitment that she made. 

No one would ever buy that.

At least they shouldn’t.

It would probably be a flippin’ best seller.

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11 Responses to Sometimes, I Wish…

  1. arielkprice says:

    Hm. I commiserate with you. I often start a story and then stop because I’m 100% sure it will end up boring. But then I never end up with a finished product. I’m trying to push through, write what I want to write, finish it, and not worry about whether others like it. Maybe not a good plan for someone trying to make their living off writing. I guess it just depends on one’s purpose in writing. Good luck and I encourage you to keep going! Maybe one of your “boring” ideas will actually be great.

    • write what I want to write, finish it, and not worry about whether others like it.”

      That’s exactly the issue, isn’t it? Do you write what you want, even if it’s esoteric and obscure, knowing no one will want to read it but you, or do you write something marketable? But how do you define marketable? And by the time you’ve polished it enough to sell, will it still be marketable? If I started writing a vampire book today, I can guarantee that no one would want to buy it by the time I finished it. And Jane Austen spin-offs, and so on, and so on… So what does it mean to you? It all comes back to writing what you want to write. And dealing with the fact that it may be very hard to find the right place for it in the market. I’m feeling better already. 🙂

  2. mabelgygi says:

    The books you describe are some of the reasons that I like borrow my book club’s selections from the library. I don’t want to spend money on books that are trite, boring, and don’t teach me any “big words”! On the other hand, some of those simple books are what I call “airplane” books (ones which can be read on a single airplane ride), and, they, too, can be entertaining. Oh, the dilemma.

  3. It is frustrating! But keep working on your own thing. I think it’s possible to find something vaguely marketable that is also the kind of writing you want to do. It only takes one successful book to change all the editors minds.

  4. In the end, you’re right. That’s all we can do. (I did say “sometimes…”) 🙂

  5. I read this post and laughed. Passive aggressive much?

    I wish I could write the kind of bland, unexciting, generic stuff that lines the shelves of libraries and bookstores.

    But you, poor thing, can only write vivid, exciting, original stuff that is a brilliant rarity in libraries and bookstores.

    I can only direct you to the tv trope, Cursed with Awesome: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CursedWithAwesome

  6. Snarky much? But if you think I’m passive-aggressive, you should meet my family.
    Having read your blog, Canary, I don’t think you’re disagreeing with me as you certainly seem to have been Cursed With Awesome. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

    • Cursed with Awesome? Nah, I’ve never complained about my feathery state! Chirp, and keep writing. 🙂

      • Even the Most Awesome One had bad days:

        When in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes
        I all alone beweep my outcast state,
        And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
        And look upon myself and curse my fate,
        Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
        Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
        Desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
        With what I most enjoy [writing] contented least…

        Sonnet 29

  7. Nisha says:

    These are the books that end up on Oprah’s Book club and are then made into movies…*sigh*
    I think the reason these boring books are so popular is because people do in fact live very formualic lives.
    Writers often write about what they know or what they are familiar with. Off the top of my head, I can think of 4 women I know who are miserable in their marriages (That number would be higher if they were’nt divorced already!) and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are having affairs or are attracted to other men. So you see its not the books that you find boring, its everybody else’s life! Ha Ha! I jest…

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