So did you watch Castle last night? It’s about a best-selling bad boy mystery writer who ends up partnering with a female detective to solve a case. Someone is murdering people based on his books, so this is how he gets involved. And when they solve that case, he gets himself a position accompanying the detective for research purposes because he killed off his fictional detective and she’s the inspiration for a new one (so the series can continue, of course). (If you missed the episode and want to watch, you can do so for free here.)
Frankly, though it was over the top, I liked it. And I think it has potential. But what’s totally hilarious to me, and to all the writers I know, is the portrayal of the writing life. Nathan Fillion, aka Richard Castle, is a bad boy rock star kind of writer. He’s got book launch parties in swanky places, lots of money, a pen with which he signs bimbos’ chests (do they really read?), and a bad attitude about his fame. He’s friends with the mayor, and he sits around playing cards with Stephen J. Cannell and James Patterson. (And someone said the woman at the table was Faye Kellerman.)
He’s so well connected he can get anything done, even leapfrog the slow and frustrating process of getting CSI results from the lab. Which of course pisses off the detective. He has money to burn and enough self-love to make him charming in spite of himself. (And, we suspect, a core of misery.) Somehow, in between all this partying and fun, he’s managed to write a whole lot of bestselling mysteries that are known for their attention to detail. Even the medical examiner is a fan.
But what I really love is the writing = glamour aspect. The portrayal of Castle’s life just reinforces what the public already believes about writers. Rich, connected, got it made. I ROFL, of course, because I am none of these things. People at my husband’s work actually thought he was going to retire now that I’ve sold a book. Excuse me while I roll around on the floor in hysterics.
MOST writers don’t live this charming, exotic life. We are ordinary people with ordinary incomes. Being a published writer doesn’t make you rich. It makes you like everyone else out there, worrying about expenses and hoping to make enough to cover them. Or, in my case since I have a wonderfully supportive hubby with a good job, making enough to cover my writing expenses, save for our retirement, and take some lovely vacations.
Even if I had Castle’s money and connections, I doubt I’d want to do any of that stuff he does. I’d much rather be holed up in my office, working on my next book, than chasing criminals or attending ritzy parties.
Did you watch Castle? What did you think? Do you like shows about writers? My mom loves Murder She Wrote. Jessica seems to have a more ordinary life by contrast, and yet everyone the poor woman knows always gets killed. The shows are campy, but fun. Castle was a bit campy too, but I think it can get better. (My first choice, of course, would be to have Fillion back on the set of Firefly, but I don’t think that will ever happen now. Darn TV execs. They’ll probably cancel this one too, just as soon as people fall in love with it.)