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An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Tue May 08, 2012 6:39 pm
by PJS
There’s an article up at Entertainment Weekly, proposing a new TV reality program, called The Great American Author, or perhaps The Next Best-Seller. Yes, friends, a reality program about writing.

It was proposed with the best of intentions, namely, to get an article published in Entertainment Weekly. But perhaps the idea deserves credit, attention, circulation. Imagine what creative juices would flow, what scintillating prose would emerge, what telegenic nobodies would hurtle to fifteen minutes of fame.

Words, to coin a phrase, fail me.

http://shelf-life.ew.com/2012/05/05/writing-books-reality-show/

ps

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Tue May 08, 2012 7:19 pm
by Jaysen
Actually, this isn't a bad idea. How many folks really know what goes into the craft of writing? Think of it like "Apprentice" (which is about a truly boring topic). I could see the series developing the following format:
Ep 1: Candidate Selection
Ep 2: review of candidate methods
Ep 3: Candidates meet editorial board (AKA judges)
Ep 4: We see candidates in daily activities, normal crap.
Ep 5: Candidates eviscerated by editorial board. Someone cries.
Ep 6: Candidates meet "hero" author or are given privileged access to journals, etc.
Ep 7: Drafts fully reviewed
Ep 8: Rewrites rewrites rewrites
Ep 9: Editorial board sets deadlines that are unrealistic
ep 10: someone breaks down
Ep 11: Final push to deliver
Ep 12: Editorial board selects winner.

Or some such thing. It might work.

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Tue May 08, 2012 8:17 pm
by Ahab
You could bring it into the RealWorld of modern-day publishing:

Ep 1: Candidates' Selections sent to Slush Pile.
EP 2: The Immense Passage of Time (images of glaciers manufacturing sand, stalagmites becoming tumescent, etc.)
EP 3: Intern who was supposed to wade through Slush Pile goes backpacking in Tibet. New Intern sifts through Slush Pile and finds stuff she can totally get on board with to like send to the Acquisitions Editors and stuff.
EP 4: Acquisitions Editors sift through promotees from Slush Pile, reading in bed late at night or on the train from Long Island, trying not to notice the drooler in the next seat or the spouse hogging the covers and complaining about the lights.
EP 5: Acquisitions Editors Present candidate submissions to the Ed Board.
EP 6: Trade Sales wants to know "what other books is this one like?" Doesn't like hearing Atonement and Country of the Pointed Firs. Won't admit she doesn't know who Sarah Orne Jewett is/was. Says "we've done the whole sorrow thing."
EP 7: Survivors of the Ed Board Massacre receive contracts. Much high-fiving and self-validation on the Home Front.
EP 8: Contractees read contracts. Much gnashing of teeth. Big weeding out of English majors who minored in Math.
EP 9: Surviving Authors (contractees that were) polish and hone and refine Manuscripts, agonizing over every Comma, and deliver On Time.
EP 10: Acquiring Editors have moved on to New House for better Jobs with Puffy Titles. Their Replacements promise to be Up To Speed ASAP.
EP 11: Glacial Passage of Time: The Reprise.
EP 12: Authors receive edited manuscript from Freelance Editor, who left Old House for New House and Puffy Title, and was downsized six months later. She doesn't understand WHAT you're GETTING at on page 472 graf4, when Laura is supposed to be in a coma, which seems to contradict page 112 graf7??? QuAu? Need This Back Yesterday!!
EP 13: Marketing can't really get behind this, after all, because three test readers find it A Downer. Cuts ad budget by 75 percent, drops print run by 50 percent.
EP 14: Large Ignoble Bookstore Chain buys 576 copies. Returns 570 after 62 days, then orders 180 more. Returns these after 62 days. Publisher eats freight both ways.
EP 15: Authors read First Reviews. None from major markets (Fingers Crossed!)
EP 16: Authors receive First Royalty statements. Net of Returns, Advance did not "earn out."
EP 17, Big Finale: Authors learn Important Lessons and New Skills, and work on radiating True Emotion with their constant plea, "Will there be fries with that?"

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 9:21 am
by druid
Ahab's list would be funny, if it were not too true.
The other side of this issue is Appalling Reader Tastes.
Just look at any best-seller list, print or electronic.

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:27 am
by Ahab
Or read the Amazon reviews of such literary dogs as Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, or Great Expectations.

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 1:16 pm
by Jaysen
Ahab wrote:Or read the Amazon reviews of such literary dogs as Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, or Great Expectations.

Hmmm... I like those. I know I'm not educated so maybe I am not sure why I shouldn't like them. Would you be willing to expand on why they are dogs?

For the record I never read these as anything other than "something to read" as an adult. I would call them sentimental mush but then so is most entertainment. Books like "The Singing Fire" (which i am reading now) can get overwhelming. Kind of like watching nothing but semi-realistic drama movies ("Babel", "Requiem for a Dream", "Crash" come to mind). Sometimes you need a little mushiness to set the mind at ease.

Or I'm an idiot.

Actually, that last one is true wither way.

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 1:56 pm
by Ahab
Jaysen wrote:
Ahab wrote:Or read the Amazon reviews of such literary dogs as Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, or Great Expectations.

Hmmm... I like those. I know I'm not educated so maybe I am not sure why I shouldn't like them. Would you be willing to expand on why they are dogs?

For the record I never read these as anything other than "something to read" as an adult. I would call them sentimental mush but then so is most entertainment. Books like "The Singing Fire" (which i am reading now) can get overwhelming. Kind of like watching nothing but semi-realistic drama movies ("Babel", "Requiem for a Dream", "Crash" come to mind). Sometimes you need a little mushiness to set the mind at ease.

Or I'm an idiot.

Actually, that last one is true wither way.


Sorry: Forgot to turn on my Irony Inflector. So, this time, we share Idiothood.

Those are three of my all-time favorite books, timeless classics that will be read as long as English is read, and which I'll probably be re-reading for the umpteenth time on my death bed.

With that in mind, scroll through the reviews in Amazon. The one- and two-star reviews are the best, though the signal-to-noise ratio has recently become more difficult to filter, as too many "reviews" are complaints about formatting errors and errant carriage returns in the readers' free Kindle editions. Still, there are many unintentionally hilarious views at which to snark. Gotta love Worst. Book. Ever.

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 2:57 pm
by Jaysen
Whew!

I already have enough issues. I don't need to add "bad taste in literature" to that list ... yet.

I avoid reviews from "the mass public" as a general rule. iTunes, Amazon, Yahoo, etc. My attitude is not based on what any one has written, but on what I see in the mass public around me. The complete lack of respect, little to no consideration of others, the inability to make their kids wear clothes, the lack of belt or suspenders for men, the refusal to remove a hat in a building.* If they can't be thoughtful in those every day tasks, how can they be remotely expected to perform any higher order mental function?

Worst. Society. Ever.

But I digress. I am about to embark on my regularly scheduled reread of "Moby Dick". Another just for fun read that seems oft maligned by folks that only seem read with a gun to their head.

*For those that are curious, I call my mother-in-law mom or ma'am, I hold the door open for women of any age, my daughter (and less frequently son) are late to school due to needing to go back and change BEFORE they leave the house, son is not allowed out the house without a belt and I wear suspenders, I wear a hat outside and carry it in my hand inside.

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 3:37 pm
by PJS
Jaysen wrote:*For those that are curious, I call my mother-in-law mom or ma'am, I hold the door open for women of any age, my daughter (and less frequently son) are late to school due to needing to go back and change BEFORE they leave the house, son is not allowed out the house without a belt and I wear suspenders, I wear a hat outside and carry it in my hand inside.


Time was -- and I remember it well, having lived there so long -- when such things were the norm. I retain what apparently is a déclassé habit: tucking my shirt into my pants (almost called them "trousers") even if I'm still in my own house; I've been told that only lesbians and old men tuck their shirts in, so perhaps the neighbors all think I'm a lesbian.

Having recently -- well, seven years ago -- re-read Moby-Dick, I've decided to tackle some heavy Russians; just bought a fifty-cent copy (at the annual library sell-off) of And Quiet Flows the Don, which looks tough enough to keep me off the streets -- with my tucked-in shirt -- for a week or so. As for the Amazon reviews, most amusing to me were those low-marks for Bleak House, the Dickens I re-read every so often. (To be fair to the A-crits, 99 gave it five stars, and only 7 gave it one.)

ps

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 4:02 pm
by Jaysen
PJS,

Do you wear a white undershirt if your shirt has buttons as well as tuck it in? I've been told that his marks me as not only "old" but "unable to be seen with in public".

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 4:27 pm
by Ahab
Jaysen wrote:PJS,

Do you wear a white undershirt if your shirt has buttons as well as tuck it in? I've been told that his marks me as not only "old" but "unable to be seen with in public".


I can't speak for the rest of the planet, but here in Maine the presence of a white (or otherwise) undershirt beneath your tucked-in shirt with buttons doesn't mean you're old. Merely that it's either (A) Cold, (B) Black-fly season, (C) Both.

Though, apropos of nothing, except perhaps a desire to blend with the background, all my undershirts seem to be various hues of green and tan. I'm pretty sure the only white undershirt I own is a cherished relict that came free with a late-sixties subscription to The Realist, and invites, in colorful typography, Communism to attempt an anatomical improbability with itself.

Re: An idea whose time may never come

Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:01 pm
by Jaysen
I own white and black. White for the office and work around the house. Black for the times when snort indicates that the white shirt "doesn't work". And all my shirts have buttons. Not just at the neck, but all the way down the front. I have one of those "Polo" shirts left for sentimental reasons. Much effort has gone into various attempts to understand why my wardrobe is what it is. Little progress has been made.

I have considered Maine as a potential relocation opportunity. There are 2 problems with Maine. I can summarize the issues with "C".