Burned, or, Why I Watch TV Now Instead of Writing

A couple of years ago, I started writing a comic mystery novel. It would have been the first novel in a series, and I was planning for each book to have a central mystery, with a long-term story arc that would stretch across ten books or so in the series.

My protagonist was an American secret agent who had just been laid off. Stranded in New York with no marketable skills, he takes to solving crimes for under-the-table payments in order to get by.

A couple of chapters into it, I told my agent what I was up to. He was unenthusiastic. He didn’t like the plot, and didn’t like the idea that the proposal was for a series character. There were probably some other gripes, but those were the main two.

So last night after The Starter Wife finished up (and I’m comfortable enough with my masculinity to admit that I watched it with my wife and rather enjoyed it), a new program starts up. It’s called Burn Notice. Guess what it’s about?

Secret Agent? Check.
Unemployed? Check.
Turns Private Dick? Check.
Cash Payments? Check.
Loopy Ex-Girlfriend? Check.

It even started the way I started my novel, with the agent out on one final job that turns into hash. Only in the TV series, the agent’s life was derailed in the middle of things, and the why seems to be the ongoing mystery. In mine, the way he handled the job was enough to prove that he was no longer relevant, and his life went into the toilet during his debriefing.

Ah, well. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

So, more pages for kindling. I wish some folks would just shut up and let me write. Or at least take some of my ideas seriously.

Or maybe I should just ignore people and write anyway. There’s no terrible sin in having a closet full of unsold manuscripts, I suppose.

Listening: “Right Through You” – Stan Ridgway (Partyball)


One response to “Burned, or, Why I Watch TV Now Instead of Writing

  1. Yeah… but Joe, the difference is – you didn’t put Bruce Campbell in your story. Next time you put pen to paper – write a small part just for Bruce. It’ll get published. It’s a kinda cosmic thing with Bruce.

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