Monday, April 02, 2007

So That's How It's Done?

David Morrell has a story called "The Typewriter," about an egotistical but untalented writer who buys a "magic" typewriter. No matter what drivel the writer tries to type, the typewriter turns it into commercial bestselling drivel, and the writer gets rich. (Until things go wrong, of course.)

Stephen King later used a somewhat similar idea for his "Word Processor of the Gods," and even moreso in Tommyknockers." But Joe Lansdale reported in "Bestsellers Guaranteed" that you don't need magic to make you a bestseller. You just need the "organization." This group will guarantee their clients to make the bestseller list by controlling all the elements of production, advertising, and distribution, and all the writer has to do is a little favor for them. Talent is not required.

The head of the organization in "Bestsellers Guaranteed" admits that he knows nothing about books. But then, he's not selling books, he's "selling success."

Preposterous. Insane. Absolute nonsense. This couldn't possibly be how it works in the real world of publishing.

Indeed?

8 comments:

Lucas Pederson said...

Odd. Although I wish I had a computer that would at least give me a magical nudge to help my writing go somewhere. That would be nice, but then again, I wouldn't like it. I'm too honest of a person to allow that to happen. Besides, I wouldn't be as satisfied with my success if I were to allow such craziness. Loved the post!

Sheila said...

Love this post. I wish I had a magic computer! Although I wouldn't want it to create my genius for me... just help me out and talk to me. Like if something were wrong in one of my scenes or with one of my characters the computer would say to me, what the hell are you thinking?!?! That doesn't make sense! Kind of like a workshop in the privacy of your own home. That would be cool. Ohhh Like Kit from Knight Rider

Steve Malley said...

And here's me standing out at the crossroads every midnight. The old man I meet there says he doesn't know much about books either, but he did offer to make me one hell of a blues player.

Turns out all I really need is a magic typewriter or 'The Organization'...

Charles Gramlich said...

Lucas, Sheila, I wonder if I'd turn down such a machine. I'd like to think I would.

Steve, you've been talking to that guy too? He told me I was the only one.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I think I read "Bestsellers Guaranteed" in Rosebud Magazine a few years back. Damn fine story.

etain_lavena said...

hhhhmmmmmm.....now I wonder what the favors will be......scary...mabe you will be like a budgie in a cage, I so hate seed and bathing while everybody is looking;)

etain_lavena said...

O I just remebered Roahl Dahl also wrote something to this effect where they enter the plots and the type of story: romance, action.....was kewl:)

Sidney said...

Did you ever happen to hear the old CBS Radio Mystery Theater episode where the guy has a typewriter controlled by an alien. It manipulates his pulp stories into a plot of world conquest somehow or other. The typewriter is always commanding him: "Type, Harry."