Once more, I'm starting to doubt that everything I see on TV is real. Take Castle, one of my favorite television shows. Rick Castle, bestselling author to legions of adoring fans, spends his days shadowing the police and helping to solve murders. When he's not with the cops, he's at home, enjoying dinner with his family, or networking at a gala for his latest release. On occasion, you'll spot him in his den, typing at the computer, totally relaxed and confident. Clearly the life of an author is full of free time and no stress.
Or maybe that's after you hit the bestseller list. Because right now, I'm working faster and harder than the entire time I spent actually writing my first book.
My agent is anxious to send my book out in the Spring, but it needed another five to ten thousand words. Eek! How many? After she gave me suggestions on characters that needed further development and scenes that could be expanded, I got to work. I typed until my fingers cramped up, I sweated through the tough scenes that fought me, I even missed an episode of Survivor (well, okay, I DVRed it, but you can see my level of commitment). Finally, I leaned back in my chair and let out my breath. Done. Finished. Ready to go out the door. Of course, I could easily spend another year tinkering with my additions, changing a word here, deleting a sentence there. But my changes wouldn't improve the writing. They would merely alter it. So with a mixture of trepidation and satisfaction, I emailed the newly improved manuscript back to my agent. Time to scoop out a dish of ice cream and enjoy that Survivor episode I missed. Clearly I wouldn't have any more work for the next few weeks while my agent reviewed my changes.
But no. Not more than three hours after I'd clicked the Send button, an email appeared from my agent. A thank you for completing the work so fast? A job-well-done memo to cheer me along? I was half right. She thanked me for the updates and then suggested that while she looked over the new material, I use that time to write a synopsis, a description for the next two books (since she'll be pitching a three book deal), and my author bio.
I'm sorry, what? A description of my third book? While my second book is almost complete, I haven't spent even a minute thinking about a third one. What would it be about? Who would be killed? Where would it take place? I have no idea! How can I describe something that doesn't exist? And don't get me started on the author bio. The name is self-explanatory, but I don't know the first thing about writing one. Do I list my lifelong achievements? How I received a citizenship award in the fifth grade? How I was selected for Rotary Camp in high school?
Where was my break? My time to de-compress and think about nothing? This was exhausting! The life of a writer on TV is so serene, so enviable. I've been hoodwinked! Curse you, Rick Castle!