Handsome Host With Dazzling Smile: Welcome, everyone, to Write For Your Life! Ten contestants volunteered to be isolated for 30 days in the remote mountain resort of Green Hill. Here they will live in cabins with fully stocked refrigerators but no internet access, working to produce 50,000 words of publishable fiction. The writer who’s still standing at the end of the last night of voting will win $50,000 and representation by the Famous Agent Agency in New York City!
*prerecorded audience applause*
Every night the writers gather to share what they’ve written during the day and critique each others’ work. Their critique sessions are observed carefully by a cadre of editors in the Sanctum, a carefully designed space that keeps the editors from being heard or seen by the writers. After critique time, the writers are led to the Hilltop, where they take their places around the Rejection Pit. A fire is stoked as the editors discuss who’ll be leaving the competition. The quality of work is part of the equation, but the editors also look for the writer who’ll be easiest to work with. When they come to a decision, the editors send a note out to me, your Handsome Host. I then announce which writer is leaving. That writer’s work is tossed into the ceremonial fire as he or she is escorted back to his or her day job in disgrace.
We’re down to the final three writers. Simone, Cary, and Lynn. Simone, why don’t you get us started?
Simone: *tosses her hair* Well, Host, I have to say that Cary’s romance is even more saccharine than it was last week or the week before. The main character, Charlene, was nothing more than the standard heaving-bodice heroine so popular in the 70’s. She spent this week’s chapter worrying and fretting that her lover, Holden, would never find her in the pirate’s secret lair. Good lord, woman, can Charlene do nothing for herself?
Cary: Oh, right, because everyone wants to read a book in which nothing happens! Simone’s chapter was a fifteen page discourse on the best way to cook a sweet potato. If you’re writing a cookbook, Simone, then just list the ingredients and stop wasting time.
Simone: It’s a literary novel, Cary. The sweet potato represents Angelica’s slow growth toward womanhood, and when she wonders how she should cook it, she’s actually wondering about her own goals for the future. Anyone who reads above a fifth grade level could understand the misery and worry she’s suffering from, but since your characters are no deeper than a mayonnaise lid, I guess it’s too much to ask of you.
Cary: At least my characters have lives. Angelica hasn’t left the kitchen in 134 pages!
Simone leaps to her feet, and soon she and Cary are locked in a vicious battle. Handsome Host calls for two burly fellows in black shirts to come and pull them apart. He turns to Lynn, who’s furiously writing in a spiral notebook.
Host: While we wait for Simone and Cary to calm down, Lynn, did you have anything to say?
Lynn: Just a second. *finishes what she’s writing, and looks up with a smile.* I’m sorry, what did you ask me?
Host: I was wondering if you had any comments about tonight’s critiques so far.
Lynn: Not really. But I’ve got a fight scene between two women coming up in a couple of chapters. I wasn’t listening to what they said so much as how they were acting, because this was too good a chance to pass up.
*A bell starts clanging.*
Host: Folks, this is unusual. The editors are summoning me to the Sanctum. *He runs to the dark building, bends down to a small opening, and returns to the Rejection Pit.* Writers, this is unprecedented. The editors have declared a winner. *He opens the folded paper, and holds it up to read aloud.* “One of the writers has shown herself to be far more dedicated to the craft than the others, and we see no reason to drag this out. This year’s winner of Write For Your Life is….Lynn!”
The camera swings down to Lynn, who has started writing in her notebook again. Host takes her by the hand, pulling her in front of the camera. “Congratulations, Lynn! You’re the winner!”
Lynn: Oh, great. I have this really good idea for another book…