Novel Writing as TV Competition


And so the Italian state TV, RAI, decided to do what everybody said would be a bad idea – a talent show for writers.

They gathered 5000 β€œaspiring writers”, who submitted 5000 manuscripts, and then they did the classic reality/talent routine.
They set up a judging panel of three popular novelists, and let the circus begin.
For the winner, a promised print run of 100.000 copies through a major publisher.

100.000 copies, in a country in which the average citizen reads 0.73 books per year, and 5000 copies are considered an solid success for a well-established author.

The show is ugly.
Granted, a reality show is probably supposed to be vulgar and simplistic, but here we go a lot farther than usual along that road.

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5 thoughts on “Novel Writing as TV Competition

    • cjcasey says:

      Honestly, I kind of want to watch it just to see if it’s as bad as you say. I can’t stand American reality TV as it is… I can’t imagine something worse.

  1. Davide Mana says:

    That’s exactly why I watched the first episode.
    At your own risk, here’s the official page for the show, with a few clips.
    The problem is, it’s in Italian and you have to get the spoken part to appreciate the horror.
    It’s a ghastly mix of snobbery, trite clichΓ©s and human tragedy-based pornography.
    Witness the dialogue
    judge: “What do you do for a living?”
    “writer”: “I suffer.”
    But also the judge explaining “When I begin reading a novel, I don’t start from page one, I start from the author’s bio,” is revealing.

    • unicornblues says:

      This is the problem I have with art based contest shows. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching some of them (Top Chef, Project Runway…) but a lot of the time they just don’t work, because art is so subjective. People have different tastes; what one person enjoys another may not, so to say they are a ‘loser’ in such a contest invalidates everything they do. Also, artists (including writers) all have different processes to arrive at their final vision–there is no ‘wrong way’ to do things.

      Also, writing, most of the time, is a completely solitary process–therefore I don’t see how it would be very ‘interesting’ for a viewer. So *of course* they’re going to amp up drama in other ways to make it more watchable. Ick.

      (One last thing–I despise pretentiousness and snobbery. ‘I suffer.’ *insert eyeroll here*)

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