Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Much Needed Book Job

It's been a long time since I've related to and enjoyed an episode of The Simpsons (I didn't even get all the references in "The Food Wife" and that's saying something). I've always loved the show for it's social commentary and satire. Being a fan of ensemble heist films (Ocean's Eleven and The Italian Job top the list), and a writer, I smiled throughout the entire episode, "The Book Job".

I don't read young adult lit and I don't like vampires but I know everyone and their nephew's half-sister's neighbor's uncle's personal trainer is into vampires. I had flashbacks to the Book Expo America and the world of book junkies and author groupies. And I felt Lisa's pain when she realized who was receiving book deals and writing best-sellers (a dog? Tyra Banks?).

After Lisa discovers that the author of her favorite fantasy novels, and her back story, are fantasy as well and the books are written by teams, she sets out to write a book before Homer can assemble a "tween lit gang write" to churn out their book for a million bucks. The usual writer's distractions win Lisa's attention. It was easy to tell the writers of that episode were writing "from the heart". It's fitting the episode aired during NaNoWriMo (I've never subjected myself to that). Was it a commentary on how a quality novel can't be written in a month? Perhaps this is a case of having more hands in the pot and a formula to follow being the way to go in current publishing farms?

The episode touched on how all ideas are derivatives; nothing is absolutely original ("I got the idea from every movie ever made."), how many want to write a book without doing any writing, writer's pride ("pride of authorship") and relinquishing your work to publishers and/or editors ("Hey, if you don't want your words changed, write a screenplay. We own your book."). When Lisa cries out, "Aargh! Writing is the hardest thing ever!" I felt warm and fuzzy inside. Thank you. Now it's time to give myself and all the great writers in the world our due.

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