A few weeks ago, Jasinda Wilder, who happens to be a husband-and-wife team who are not only great people, but write smokin’ hot books, Tweeted about the possibility of a reality show, The Real Housewives of Self-Publishing. Since I happen to know some of the real housewives she hangs out with, I immediately commented that the world was NOT ready for a show like that.
But it got me thinking about a reality show, like Project Runway, but for writers. It could be called The Novel Project, and I know exactly how it should be run.
Prizes would be:
$100,000.00 in cash to take a year off work to complete your masterpiece, courtesy of the Big 5 Publishing Houses
Free use of a writing studio, a cabin in the Maine woods, provided by Douglas Preston.
And Amazon, still light years ahead as far as knowing what writers really want and need, would supply five pounds of coffee, delivered weekly, as well a a gallon per week of any alcoholic beverage of choice
The host would have to be a writer who is also well known for being something else as well. A sort of Renaissance person, like Sam Shepard or Steve Martin. Or Snookie.
There would need to be a mentor, of course, someone warm and supportive, who would appreciate and encourage writers of all genders, races, and sexual orientations. Jonathan Franzen perhaps?
And imagine the challenges…
“Good morning, writers, and welcome to the Romantic Times Challenge. For this challenge, you have to write a scene in which a dark-hearted Duke, who has married for convenience, takes his virginal bride to their marriage bed for the first time. To complete this challenge, you cannot use the phrases “velvet shaft,’ ‘ throbbing rod of passion,’ or ‘glistening flower of desire’.
You have one day to complete this challenge. The winner will have immunity for the next challenge, and will receive a full-page ad in Romantic Times magazine, as well as a weekend in the Inn Boonsboro, courtesy of the amazing Nora Roberts. The loser will sign a ten-book, two year contract with a New York publishing house. “
The camera will then shift to the twelve contestants, men and women, most of them in various pajama pieces, and all drinking coffee and staring into their laptops.
Two hours later, our mentor looks in. All twelve contestants are busy typing away in silence.
Two hours after that, the mentor returns. Here is what he finds:
Contestants #1, #5, and #11 are in the Internet.
Contestant #2 has replaced his coffee mug with a near-empty bottle of Dewar’s, and has fallen asleep, face down, on his laptop.
Contestant # 3 is typing, muttering to herself, “Show not tell, show not tell…”
Contestant #4 is in a corner of the room with Contestants #8 and #9, trying to configure them in the position he described in his story, to see if it’s actually possible for two people to have sex, in a chair, with no feet on the floor.
Contestant #6 is playing Candy Crush on her phone.
Contestant #7 is refreshing his Amazon KDP dashboard every thirty seconds.
Contestant #10 is reading a battered paperback version of Atlas Shrugged.
Contestant #12 is rocking back and forth in her chair, singing I Have A Dream from Les Miz.
Our mentor takes one look around, grabs the bottle of Dewar’s, and leaves the workroom.
I could go on, but my heart is too full. Who will watch this with me?