Recently, people have been asking me: “How do you make the transition from TV comedy to writing novels? Well, I’ve spent some time time thinking about this, and devised what I believe to be a no-nonsense 10-Step Program. Not only is it foolproof — I’ve saved you two steps! Now get to work.
1. WATCH A MARATHON OF “WHITNEY” AND “TWO BROKE GIRLS”
In no time, you’ll be reaching for a copy of “Moby Dick” as your affinity for sitcoms evaporates into thin air.
2. EMBRACE YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND: PROSE
In your spec sitcom script, Whitney enters and tells a lame joke. In your novel, you can let us know everything going on in Whitney’s head that drove her to say something that lame.
3. FREE YOURSELF TO WRITE INTERESTING LANGUAGE
One of the new sitcoms that will air this coming season berates a character for using the words “rife” and “vibrant.” As a novelist, you will be permitted to employ these adjectives in addition to time-honored favorites like “endemic” and “ubiquitous.”
4. FREE YOURSELF TO WRITE CRUDE LANGUAGE FOR INTERESTING PURPOSES
In your sitcom script, you gratuitously mention sex organs as punchlines. In your novel, you can explore sexual themes that actually come from character. Instead of trying to shock us with toilet humor, show us something more shocking: real talent.
5. LEAVE YOUR RESENTMENT OF AUTHORITY BEHIND
As you depart the world of television, you will no longer have to politely nod your head as dopey executives tell you they love your script, “but can you make the boy a dog?” You’re in charge now.
6. GET USED TO BEING IN CHARGE
Since you’re now your own boss, you get to be the mean one. Recognize however, that you’re also the one getting reamed, so pick your battles wisely.
7. GROW UP
It happens to all of us. If you fall outside the 18-49 target TV demographic, no one is interested in your scriptwriting services anyway, so why not write a novel?
8. REALIZE THAT THERE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THINGS THAN MONEY
Crucial, because as a novelist you’ll be living on ramen for a while.
9. ENJOY YOUR WORK BEING SEEN
Even though both Creative Artists Agency and your Aunt Ceil feel you have no talent, you can now solicit opinions from anyone with a computer. It costs nothing to upload a Kindle book, and you can price it low to attract readers to a new author.
10. REMOVE THE WORD “EASY” FROM YOUR VOCABULARY
Writing anything good is never easy. If you don’t agree, keep typing that “Whitney” spec script.