The Guaranteed Canadian Bestseller Formula™

February 4, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

[This] internal debate – Will it sell? – was by then occurring on a scene-by-scene, sentence-by-sentence basis. I found myself clinically dissecting bestsellers. The Da Vinci Code had short, poppy chapters. So I’d have short, poppy chapters. Eat, Pray, Love had a loopy narrative voice. So I’d have a loopy narrative voice.

I approached writing a book as a complex equation: The Guaranteed Canadian Bestseller Formula™. Take one spunky heroine (preferably Mennonite), add one northern canoe trip, a dash of illicit buggery (a priest or close family member, either works) and set it in a harrowing post-apocalyptic world where the spunky heroine, OfNomi, has lost the right to her own body … blammo! Instant chart-topper.

What I resisted seeing was that the writers whose success I wished to ape hadn’t set out to achieve it with the mixture of dire desperation and cold-eyed cynicism I’d developed. They were writing at least partially from their own experiences about topics that inspired them. They were … just writing.

– Craig Davidson, “The Things You Have to Endure”


One Response to “The Guaranteed Canadian Bestseller Formula™”
  1. Kerry Clare says:

    This is funny, but I appreciate that he respects the integrity of these books and their creation all the while mocking their formula. I think the distinction of third paragraph is important, and gets lost in hype and its backlash.