Friday, April 25, 2008

Help, I'm addicted . . .

By Lonnie Cruse

My name is Lonnie and I'm addicted to competition shows on television. I'm sitting here watching STEP IT UP AND DANCE after I've promised myself I wouldn't start watching another one of these shows. I've tried to cut back, but . . . . um, anyone know if there's a twelve step program for this???

I've watched DESIGN STAR for two seasons, can't wait for the next to begin. Ditto for PROJECT RUNWAY. TOP CHEF filled the void for me when PROJECT RUNWAY ended for this year. And to be perfectly honest, these shows drive me nuts. The contestants I like usually get eliminated. The contestants I hate usually end up winning. Every single time. Sigh. Who chooses these judges anyhow?

But then I am learning lots of interesting things . . . like how to decorate a room the size of a large cardboard box, or how to cook a REALLY tiny piece of meat and serve it with an itsy bitsy salad on top, or how to trim an evening dress with real human hair. Ick. And if this new-to-me show is any indication, dancing ain't what it used to be either. The gal who just got tossed did a demonstration that was quite beautiful. A guy who survived was disgusting. Hmmm. Of course, viewers can always go online after watching these shows and get designing tips, cooking tips, sewing tips, or dancing lessons . . . after someone gets the axe. Where was I?

I got to thinking that writing a manuscript and getting it published is sometimes like these competition shows. Readers are our target, or our goal, if you will. But to get to our readers we have to get by some very tough judges: agents, editors, and/or publishers, all the while managing somehow not to be eliminated from the tough competition. Authors often read for each other and give hopefully helpful critiques. Then we wonder why the great manuscript our fellow author wrote was continually passed over when submitted for consideration. If we loved it, why didn't the powers-that-be in publishing love it? Or we've read and enjoyed an author's work in print only to discover she/he has recently been dropped by a publisher and the series is no longer in print. We wonder how that happens to someone so talented? How can we keep it from happening to us? And why do some authors we don't enjoy reading manage to snag huge advances year after year? Grrrr. So we bite our nails in private and worry. And write.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So is talent, if you think about it. Which means that something we find worthwhile can end up in a slush pile or trash pile. The only answer I know for this is to encourage those we admire in their quest to be published or to remain published. Support them whenever we can. Recommend their books to others. Word of mouth sells more books than just about all the other promotion put together. If you don't want to stop reading a favorite series, do something about it. Let the library and bookstores know how much you like that author's work. And your friends. And the world.

And don't forget to vote online for your favorite home designer, top chef, fashion designer, or dancer. 'Cause I know you're probably hooked, like me.


Darlene Ryan said...

Lonnie, I think we need to come up with a writing reality show. Writers pitch their books to a panel of agent/judges in 25 words or less. Each week there could be challenges like synopsis writing and cutting all the adverbs out of a chapter.

Are you in?

Lonnie Cruse said...

Aaakkkk, Darlene, I'd be eliminated first thing! Adverbs are my friends. Sniff.