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.