So You Think You Can Write

I was looking over all the reality television offerings and realized that aside from C-SPAN’s BookTV (a televised book report), there are no “real” shows that appeal to the bards and scribblers among us. Every other art form has secured its own small screen showcase, how about one for writers? Here are my pitches for this fall’s TV slate.

Writing with the Stars:  Ghost writers will partner with barely literate celebrities and construct a chapter from a forthcoming tell-all memoir. In the judging round, writers will read from each chapter. Winning entries will have the most outrageous content couched in the most literate prose. Only the celebrity will get credit for the win.

Top Scribe: Every week an unnamed publisher will provide a setting, two characters, a catch phrase, and a genre. Each writer-contestant will construct a proposal for a bankable bestseller that employs all elements. The winning proposal gets film rights. This week’s challenge: In 24 hours, write a Hugo Award-winning book that includes the Korean War, one actuary, one librarian, and the phrase, "This one time, at band camp…?" Use of a thesaurus or Redbull will result in disqualification.

The Amazing Travelogue: Travel around the world to the secret destination provided in the itinerary that arrives at 12:01 in your email. You must use the method of travel specified (sedan chair, log raft, camel, coach-and-four). Once you have arrived at your destination you have $20 less than the going rate to secure accommodations at a clean and safe motel within walking distance of hot spots. You will have $10 less than the average meal with which to dine like a gourmet. You must find five no-cost/low-cost AND romantic activities to do. Frequent flyer points if one of the activities is family-friendly. Write up your experiences in 25 words or less and email back to editor by 5 pm the next day.

Flip this Manuscript: Submit your Great American Novel to 50 publishers. Collect all 50 rejection slips. Paper your bathroom walls with rejection slips. Bonus points for mosaics. Sell house.

Real World Author: Set alarm for 7 am. Punch until 8:30 am. Get up, pour coffee, turn on computer screen. Reread yesterday’s efforts. Wonder why you didn’t take mom’s advice and become a history teacher. Drink more coffee. Reevaluate yesterday’s efforts. Smugly realize that you are glad you didn’t take mom’s advice. Bang out three sparkling sentences that do not need editing. Get stuck. Stare at computer screen for 45 minutes. Clean bathroom. Stare at computer screen. Do laundry. Stare at computer screen. Mow lawn. Stare at computer screen. Kids come home from school. Find inspiration and write frantically until 2 am. Write. Read. Repeat. Get dropped from publisher next season for low Nielsen ratings.

I am so going to Hollywood.




About the Author:

Kaite Mediatore Stover refuses to give up her day job as director of readers' services for The Kansas City Public Library to read tarot cards professionally or be the merch girl/roadie for her husband's numerous bands. Follow her on Twitter at @MarianLiberryan.

4 Comments on "So You Think You Can Write"

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  1.' wendy says:

    Ha!! Please go to Hollywood. I am happy to hand over a basket of rejection slips to help paper the house.

    Re: Real World Author. Double your sponsorship potential if you spike that (name brand)coffee with (name brand) chocolate pieces. Display in front of (name brand) PC. Better yet. Nail the sponsor dollars first and they will hand you the keys to the studio and you can make ten shows…. Or is that a story line?

  2. Keir says:

    How about “Narrowing Horizons”: come up with 12 ideas for new shows, all of them easily summarized in terms of already existing shows (e.g. “America’s Next Top Model” meets “Top Chef”). After judges winnow out your best 6 ideas, come up with 3 new ideas that are easily summarized in terms of the 6 surviving ideas (e.g. “America’s Next Top Model Chef” meets “Studio 60 at 30 Rock”). And so on…or is that too much like the actual process of TV writing?

  3.' terry says:

    LOL….I think Dean Koontz does your “Top Scribe” in a lot of his novels…and I LOVE it.

  4.' Kaeli says:

    An amusing (if not really frightening) thought. Check out the latest Thursday Next book by Jasper Fforde-the plot is pretty much centered around the idea of making reality books-starting with “Meet the Bennetts.”

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