What Do You Think?

A couple of things have happened in the last few days that have made me wonder …

First, a friend of mine said, “David, you’d sell a lot more books if your books were a little more risqué – more like John Jakes. Have you ever read Kent Family Chronicles?”

When I admitted I hadn’t read any of the books in the series, my friend gave me a copy of one. It didn’t take me long to realize that there was plenty of action in bedrooms (and other places!) as well as the more public actions I write about. Now Adam Mitchell fathered 13 children, so obviously he didn’t spend all his time in the corn fields or the battle field. But I prefer to let him and his wives – he married Elizabeth several years after the death of Jennetta – have some privacy.

I was surprised to read early reviews of Spring House that called the book a great love story. Reviewers (and readers) recognized the love story without any graphic descriptions, and my friend’s suggestion to make the stories a little more risqué was the first time anyone had suggested I should write any more explicitly.

Shortly after that, I started hearing political campaigning about sex in novels – one senatorial candidate quoted sexually-explicit passages from his opponent’s novels in an attempt to demonstrate the writer’s unsuitability for the Senate. Amidst the political rhetoric, Slate published a quiz to match authors with passages – of varying degrees of explicitness – from their writings. (Note: If you prefer not to read explicit sex scenes, you won’t want to take the quiz.) The authors include politicians from Winston Churchill to Barbara Boxer, Jimmy Carter to William Buckley. Seeing what some of these national and world leaders have written kept me wondering if I should spice up my writing.

Then I went to visit my aunt in Lubbock, Texas. “Aunt Polly,” I said, “I’ve been told that my writing is too Pollyanna-ish. What do you think?”

Polly Ann Black responded, “Pollyanna-ish is a good thing to be! Just keep your writing exactly like it is. You’ll never have to worry about your grandkids being embarrassed to read what you wrote, and you can go into schools with your books because they’re suitable for anyone.”

So now I want to know what YOU think. Take my poll and tell me whether I should keep my writing as is, spice it up just a little, or make my books more titillating. Share your thoughts by clicking on “Comments” below.

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