I like to read quotes and advice from other writers. I enjoy knowing about their work habits, thought processes, beliefs about writing in general.
But I'm seeing a lot of quotes lately, regarding "raw" fiction. Some writers are saying that if you're not writing something that scares you (and the reader), challenges your own beliefs, or forces you totally outside your comfort zone, then you're not writing true.
Allow me to disagree for a moment.
Sure, I do think there's a place in fiction for a raw quality, for naked truth, for making readers uncomfortable in order to challenge them. And there are plenty of readers who enjoy that sort of thing.
But sometimes, reading needs to be an escape from the grittiness of real life. Sometimes, I think, readers want to be drawn into a lovely world. One with light and beauty and friendships and romance and comfort. Not to say that the story isn't dramatic, or the characters aren't flawed and interesting. They definitely should be. But I think there can still be "truth" in fiction without making the reader squirm with discomfort.
By writing "cozy" women's fiction, I feel I can provide readers with an escape from their own realities. I can give them a world they can't otherwise reach -- one where things work out, relationships triumph through troubles, characters grow and learn and experience truths. And yes, where there are happy endings. And speaking as a reader, I enjoy reading those books (I'm currently reading Rosamunde Pilcher's Shell Seekers for the third time -- a perfect example of "cozy" women's fiction).
So, to those writers who think that the only "real" writing has to be raw and dirty and naked (sometimes literally!) and gritty? I say phooey on that. Cozy fiction can still be valuable. It can still have depth and truth, while providing light and comfort in a dark world.
And I don't see anything wrong with that. ;-)