Why are there no reality television shows about authors? I did a little research (and by “research” I mean Google) and apparently, there is some show idea called BookMillionaire, which hasn’t quite made on the air yet. I guess the contestants don’t even have to write anything,they just pitch an idea and if they are selected…it’s unclear what happens next. I can’t imagine why this show isn’t on the air. People talking about the book they are going to write seems like a real cliffhanger.
I think there are many reality TV shows that can be adjusted to the writer. Meet the Author would be a combination of a Diane Sawyer investigative reporting and a Barbara Walters exclusive. The drama: “My printer is out of ink!” would be balanced by long segments of the author sitting at his/her desk typing, pausing to read what he/she wrote, typing, going to get something to eat or drink, typing, dosing off, typing, and some intense thinking at the computer followed by his/her playing with the dog.
What about an author dating show? Authors are pitted against one another in weekly “story rounds” in which they write to impress the bachelor(ette). Who doesn’t love watching desperate people vying for the attention of a ridiculously attractive man or woman? What about Survivor—The Writer’s Challenge in which authors are put on an island with no computer, no pen & paper, no way to communicate except their words and their bodies. Who wouldn’t want to be out in the middle of no where eating bugs for inspiration and having to use only your memory to retain any good ideas, any good lines you had while competing with people who wished you dead?
What about an old school version of The Real World in which a bunch of pen pushers are forced to live together just to see what happens. The best part would be the awesome bedroom cam in which the audience catches two contestants making secret alliances: “I don’t know why she hates me (sob). I never meant to steal her plot. Isn’t is possible for two people to have the same idea at the same time?” Fast forward to The Author Give in which writers are forced to give away their best lines to aspiring writers, copyright and all…and they probably shouldn’t show any resentment or honestly express their feelings about essentially giving one of their children away. Speaking of children, I think all writers should be on SuperNanny. Most that I know appear to have things together, but underneath they are screaming children just wanting to be heard…hence the desire to spend one’s life struggling to communicate.
Personally, I think the best show would be Author Swap in which writers swap lives for a couple of weeks. I could live in Jackie Collins' Beverly Hills mansion, write all my stories by hand and meet famous people who relay stories of wild sex parties on yachts, and she could come and live in my older, rent controlled flat with my two roommates and our crazy neighbors. Come on Jackie, what do ya say?
I guess the truth is people don’t really want to see what writers do. It would require a great deal of patience that America just does not have. It would require a commitment of support despite a high likelihood of failure. Like much reality TV it would not truly represent the highs of writing a line that you are certain will touch people, evoking an emotion that wouldn’t have been there without you, and the lows of rejection in a stack of letters all regretting to inform you that you are just “not the right fit for us.”
And I thank you for reading.
Causes Katherine McWilliams Supports
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation jdrf.org Macula Vision Research Foundation mvrf.org Washington Office on Latin America wola.org/juarez