While at my daughter’s house, I watched one of the final episodes of this season’s “The Voice”. It was the first time I had watched the show so my daughter gave me a quick recap of how the entire contest works. As a person in the arts, I find it a little unfair that there are no TV contest shows for writers. Sure we have our own competitions, but unless it’s a whale of a contest, our prizes usually include a congratulatory t-shirt, mug or a check that might buy us groceries for a week. Okay, some contests also give out shiny badges that we can display on our websites, books, car windows and first born, but believe it or not, no one asks about our participation in those contests even when we have a sticker that says “First Prize” stuck to our kid’s forehead.
Being the staunch supporter of writers that I am, I have developed my own show for writers. If anyone in Hollywood is watching, please consider this my crude proposal for a new show called “The Writer”. This is how it will work.
Writers of different genres apply to be on the show by submitting an essay or excerpt from a book that he or she has written. The judges and coaches on the show will represent different genres. Each writer will have to perform various feats to show off their skill. They would have to write on-the-spot, original pieces for the judges. They won’t know in which genre they will be writing. See how I am creating suspense and tension? The only thing more exciting than this is paint drying.
The writers will create their work while sitting in the “Well of Words”—a special area on the stage that will emit a dramatic vibe. It will have an ornate desk, laptop, and for inspiration, mounds of chocolate, mugs of coffee and/or bottles of wine. Since it will be a family show, we can do away with the booze… on stage.
So, one judge will randomly select a writer and fire off a topic on which that contestant will write. The writer will then have to produce a 450-word essay in five minutes. Writers will be graded by the coaches on typing style, the number of typos, the amount and creativity of cursing they do during the writing process, and of course, the content. Armed with laser red pens, the coaches will edit away at the essay in front of the TV audience. At the end of the editing process, the coaches either will invite the writer to continue on in the competition or wade into the pool of tears and rejection. Writers who are sent to the pool of tears and rejection are eliminated. There are no saves. I think this ultimate emotional upheaval will make great reality TV.
This process goes on until only one writer is left standing and dry and then he or she is crowned “The Writer of the Year”. Confetti will fly and the coaches will hand over a $500 check because nowadays writers think this is a windfall. Unlike the singing competitions where a recording contract is awarded, there will be no big name publishing contract because in the new rules of publishing in the 21st century, if you are not famous or have no real connections, you don’t deserve a contract.
Who will be the judges? Well, for romance, I would pick Danielle Steel. She is still alive, right? You know what? She doesn’t have to be alive because here is another twist. We can hire the Long Island medium to channel dead coaches to help the live coaches. So, we can have Danielle Steel and Jane Austen for romance, Gene Roddenberry and whoever else is big in Science Fiction, Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry in humor, John Grisham and Agatha Christie in mystery and Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe in horror. Personally, I can contact Edgar Allen Poe—he follows me on Twitter along with Jesus. Ooh, maybe Jesus will want to do the Christian writing thing – probably not, he’s a tad disappointed in a lot these days.
Remember, this is only a rudimentary outline of the new show. I still have a lot of details to figure out. I think this is a hit. It has excitement, drama, dead people—the works. I hope they bring me on board as a consultant. I’ll bring the wine, caffeine and chocolate.