When to listen to Mom about writing

So I was at AggieCon yesterday.  The first panel I went to was on pitfalls for new writers.  The panelists didn’t introduce themselves, so I didn’t know who they were.  One panelist kept on saying “Mom used to say…” or “Mom told me…”  Naturally, I was wondering why was this guy always referring to his mom.  About half an hour into the panel, it hit me.  It was Todd McCaffrey, son of the late Anne McCaffrey, one of the most influential fantasy writers in recent memory, and the genius behind the Pern series.  Suddenly, what “Mom” said became a lot more important.  I think the most important thing they covered there was the difference between an idea and a story.  An idea is, “A talking...