Sunday, February 14, 2016

"That's A Pretty Thin Production Level, Borg..."

I've been putting out one book a year for quite awhile, now. I often think I should be writing faster. Certainly, many professional writers do two books a year, and sometimes three or more.

Recently, the subject came up again, this time in connection with a TV show. First, some background so you will understand why a TV show that the whole world knows about could be new to me.

It's true that my wife and I haven't had TV ever since our 13-inch black-and-white died back in the '70s. (I know, I'm dating myself.)

So we're pretty disconnected from pop culture. However, we do have a DVD player for watching movies, which we get from Netflix. We've also occasionally rented TV shows that people have recommended.

When I heard about Castle, a show about a mystery writer, I was naturally intrigued. When actual mysteries were published that were supposedly written by the fictional Castle, I was doubly intrigued. Partly, because they sold very well, partly because the real ghost writer was a closely-guarded secret, and partly because I loved the idea of a fictional TV show cross promoting a fictional writer and the result was very real books.

If it's possible that any of you haven't seen the show, it depicts a writer working with the New York police and helping to solve murder cases. The writer gets source material and hands-on research, while the police get helpful (although sometimes outlandish) ideas from a creative writer. The shows each start with a murder (sound familiar?), they move fast, they are sometimes funny or clever, and they end well. Some viewers might think that part of the appeal is that the episodes showcase the beautiful woman (Stana Katic in tight jeans and high heels) who plays the homicide detective that Castle works with. Realistic? Probably not. But eye candy helps sell...

The clever additional component that motivated me to give the show a try, was that the fictional Castle (played by Nathan Fillian) periodically gets together with his writer buddies to play poker. Those writer friends are played by the very real Michael Connelly, James Patterson, and others.

During one of those poker games, the other (real) writers are giving Castle grief for only writing one book per year. Castle seems a bit taken aback when Patterson (who produces about a dozen books per year) says, "One book a year is a pretty thin production level, don't you think?" Connelly, who seems to be writing two or three books a year these days, agrees.

Meanwhile, as we were watching, my wife was laughing and slapping my thigh.

Yeah, I have to agree. One book a year is a pretty thin production schedule, Borg.

I suppose if I turned off Castle, I might have more time for writing...

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