Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh Gossip Girl- How Thou Hast So Unrealistically Portrayed the Publishing Industry !

Why do movies and television series make getting published look so easy?  Agents and editors wonder why they receive thousands of queries a month, pitches on planes and in bathrooms...why writers start querying their books right after typing the words ‘the end’ and expect all their publishing dreams to come true?

Well, after Monday night’s Gossip Girl episode it has become painfully clear to me.

The character Dan Humphrey has written a fictional memoir about his upper elite friends.  Never planning to publish it, he stuffs it literally in a drawer.

His best friend Vanessa finds the manuscript, takes it and delivers it BY HAND to an editor at a big publisher

Low and behold, the editor loves it and plans to publish it even though 1. This is a rough draft and has seen no editing.  And 2.  They don’t know who the author is.

Give. Me. A. break.

Then by some powers-that-be, the book creates major buzz around Manhattan.  Dan’s mentor steps forward and claims the work as his own in an attempt to get Dan himself to take credit.

Dan takes the bait, and at the launch party it is revealed that he’s the author of the book which has now obtained a top –four spot on amazon and will go on to receive rave reviews in the New York Times.

Oh, come ON!

The entire plot line just had me shaking my head and screaming at the television.  Only in tv land are things so incredibly, stupidly simple.

I definitely notice in TV and film we watch the characters either after they’re already published or they manage to get published in some easy, unrealistic way.  When you think about it-of course we like to see people succeed but part of me wishes the entertainment industry would show someone who actually struggles beforehand.  It makes it all much more worth while, don’t you think?  

42 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Oh my god, tell me about it! This stuff makes me want to throw broccoli at the screen ... um, yeah, greens are good for everyone, including 2D images ...

vanyelmoon said...

I think the unrealistic nature of TV and movies extends past just the writing industry. Just look at CSI and what it has done to our judicial system. Prosecutors coined the term "CSI effect," to explain all of the lost cases because of the heightened expectations for evidence to be as accurate as they see on TV.

I think America as a whole needs to take a step back from the TV and start living there lives more in reality.

Lisa Shafer said...

But, from the 1950s on, ALL TV problems must be solved in under 30 minutes!

Laura Pauling said...

Most things on TV and in movies are unrealistic. Esp when it comes to love and dating!

Anne Gallagher said...

WEll, there you go Katie. There's your new book. "How I REALLY got published". Do it in expose style and set all of Manhatten ablaze.

Marie Rose Dufour said...

I don't watch the show but that probably would have made me sick. What a totally unrealistic view of the publishing world and how hard it actually is to get published!

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

soooooo true!
the worst movie i've ever seen (or half-saw because i couldn't stomach it any longer) entitled WORLD'S GREATEST DAD, actually handles the road to publication very well. it's actually a big part of the plot- the seemingly impossible task of becoming published- and the reason i stuck with the movie for about half of it. but seriously, it was much too disturbing for that line to make up for the rest of the disgusting, twisted, immoral mess that was the rest of the story.

Javid S. said...

Oh, it's been a very long time I stopped to watch Gossip Girl. Actually, I liked it and wanted to watch all episodes. HOWEVER, unfortunately I couldn't catch who's dating who, got very nervous and stopped to watch! At this time, Dan was writing screenplays, not books. BTW, how do you know it was a rough draft? Perhaps he had edited it. :D

Javid

Ashley said...

I have the same problem when characters are photographers! They take pictures in really low light while moving with no other light source! Come on!

April said...

That is so aggrivating! I used to watch that show...LOL. I've seen other shows and movies do the same thing though, and it simultaneously makes me laugh and cry. Laugh because it's so insane and unrealistic...and cry because it's so insane and unrealistic. LOL.

Linda Kage said...

You said it. Give me a "The Pursuit of Happiness" storyline anyway. The struggle is what makes the happy outcome soooo amazing.

Aleeza said...

you've got to be kidding me, dude. no wonder aspiring authors--the SERIOUS ONES--are so misguided about the whole process. :X

B.E. Sanderson said...

I've never seen the show, but yeah, that's totally annoying. Of course, having a show where the writer does it like it is in real life would take several seasons and be totally boring. The best TV can do is a snippet of real - like the Grey's Anatomy episode where the guy actually ate his manuscript, or the Golden Girls episode where Blanche tries to write a novel.

Lindsay said...

Grrr. I want to live in that world now! If only it was that easy!

Ranae Rose said...

LOL I've noticed how simple they make getting published seem on TV too. Always makes me laugh.

Sarah Pearson said...

I haven't seen Gossip Girl, but I know what you mean. Other shows have made me laugh at their portrayal of how easy it all is :-)

Marisa Hopkins said...

Hahaha, oh man, I'm glad I didn't see this on TV - I might have thrown the remote and done serious damage :D

Old Kitty said...

LOL!!! I know I sound so incrediby old but I always laugh when reading Nicholas Nickleby (Charles Dickens). NN writes his memoir and is an instant hit. Just like that and of course makes a nice living out of it too. Just like that. But then I love him anyway cos the book is amazing and after the life he's had he deserves his instant writerly fame.

I guess if I liked the character enough and if I'd been rooting for them from the start, I'd be more forgiving at any instant fame he or she achieves!

Take care
x

Carolyn V said...

I agree!!! I was watching a show yesterday where the mc is an author. He finished his last line and said now he could send it to his agent. I laughed. He's sending his first draft? Yeah right. Whatever. ;)

Jay Noel said...

If only it were that easy.

But then again, this is a show on the WB for Godssake!

Saumya said...

LOL I was going to write a post on this episode as well. How does everything happen so easily and quickly? I hope someone does an episode of some show that depicts the true journey. Dan's still my favorite guy on the show :)

Miranda Hardy said...

I don't watch gossip girl, but that is hilarious. I can't imagine things being that easy, but then again, my names not Stephanie Meyer.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

TV programs are neatly packaged to give people what they want to hear and see. Even the most realistic, is still only fantasy.

Connie Keller said...

I'm so glad I didn't see this show. I don't know if I would've screamed and thrown something. Or gotten depressed. Or both. You'd think whoever wrote the show would have known better.

Matthew MacNish said...

Give me a break.

However, this is what you get for watching Gossip Girl, Katie. LOL.

Tony Van Helsing said...

I bet they don't have any trouble parking their cars on this show either.

Patti said...

You lost me at hand delivered. That would never happen. I guess they figure, the average person doesn't know how long it takes to get a book published. I had people asking me when my book was coming out after they found out I was writing one.

mshatch said...

I think that's why I don't watch much television anymore - unless there's some tongue in cheek like Eureka or some very serious shite going on like Battlestar Galactica or The Walking Dead. Life is seldom so easy except for the few who are charmed and rich or know someone.

Kathryn said...

THIS DROVE ME CRAZY!!! When Dan got his finished copy (wait, no arcs needed? pfft) in the mail, I threw my remote control at the TV (well, not really, that's a little too dramatic and destructive for me, but METAPHORICALLY I DID!). I haven't watched this week's episode yet, but I already feel my insides burning just thinking of it. And yet, I'll still watch it. Oh, how my guilty pleasures have a hold on me...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

But it is that easy!
Right.
I think it's more like John Cusack's character in 2012 - he'd sold a whole five hundred books and was dead broke.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

It's a wonder you didn't smash the television with your shoe!

But then again, it was probably just as realistic as any other plotline (which is to say, not at all).

It's just that this one seemed to mock us ...

AmieSalmon said...

Things like this do so annoy me, why can't TV have a show where it shows the hard work, blood, sweat and tears that it takes to get published.
Arrgh.

Johanna Garth said...

Huh? You mean it isn't really that easy? And everyone in NYC doesn't live in a gorgeous spacious apartment? Please, say it isn't so!;)

Angela Brown said...

On the scale of 1 to 10, 10 being Loved it and 1 being Hated it...I say you deserve a fracking 11 for this rant. Maybe, just maybe this was some episode writer's pipe dream that they had to get off their chest because they wish it were that easy.

Sheesh!

C D Meetens said...

That is so frustrating, particularly when you know first-hand how difficult it is. Of course, in TV land, everything would be that simple, wouldn't it? It would be nice to see something portrayed in a realistic fashion once in a while.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wouldn't it be great if getting published was that easy...But if it was, then being published wouldn't be very special.

erica and christy said...

(disclaimer: I've never seen Glamour Girl, so I don't know the characters)

Sad thing is, an financial memoir about the upper elite could probably manage this scenario, if written from an insider. >:(
erica

Elle Strauss said...

Who writes these shows? I've never watched GG and now I never will. ugh.

LTM said...

well... I suppose it MIGHT be possible if someone were rich enough to do something sort of like this... For example, that Snookie chick. But anonymously? Nuh-uh.

Although, I'm w/Matt. Why are you watching GG? ;p <3

Karen Peterson said...

I was once at a meeting where Steve Young was the keynote speaker. He talked about all the years of work he had put into becoming a top quarterback and how, when he finally got his time in the spotlight, people started talking about him as if he had just appeared out of nowhere. My favorite line from that speech was, "It takes a lot of years to become an overnight success."

Which is why things like this GG episode drive me CRAZY. But it also helps weed out the people that aren't going to make it, because they don't have the patience to put in the years.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I read Karen Peterson's comment right before mine and I love Steve Young's quote! Man, that is true.

This reminds me of all the poor people in the world who subscribe to the notion that getting published is easy because of false information like this. When they come to ME, spouting their story ideas, my advice is always, "Great! Try it!" And they learn on their own pretty quickly that real life is not like on TV! :)

Great post!
Amy

theemptypen said...

I think it's safe to say that the screenwriters are living out their fantasies via their creations (as odd as that sounds).

A co-worker once asked if I would ghost write a book for her husband and wanted to know how long it would be until they would start seeing checks. Yes, because if it was that easy, why would I still be at that job we complained about every day?

*sigh*

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