Friday, October 09, 2020

Gong Show, Anyone?

I want to moderate the next debate. Let's resurrect the gong show. Every time a speaker ignores a question that could be answered with a simple yes or no, and launches into an off-topic tirade the moderator would clash cymbals. The louder, the better. 

Honestly, during the vice-presidential debate both candidates immediately steered the conversation around to their pet topic and the points they were determined to make. A virtual debate would be perfect. The moderator would simply mute their mikes when their time is up. 

Here are some gongable moments for writers when we wish we could mute the speaker.

Writers' panels where a fellow panelist simply will NOT stick to the question, but persists in reading prepared remarks. Or worse, when the moderator dominates the panel and constantly asserts his or her glorious credentials.

Panels that reached the stage of "now we will answer questions from the audience" and a person stands and give a personal promotional speech. The moderator can ask "is there a question in there somewhere?" but it does no good. The speaker continues to tell us about his or her publishing experiences.

A book signing when a fan holds up the line to tell you the entire plot of the fantastic book they've written? Or in my case--since I'm a historian--their family history. This is doubly frustrating to me because I'm often really interested in their family's story. But the next person in line isn't. I'm definitely not interested in the plot of their book. 

An acquaintance who suggests that they give you an idea, you do the writing and "we'll split the money." Hot dog. If they only knew. What money? Besides, I usually have six good ideas before breakfast every morning. It's the writing that's hard. 

Persons who give us business advice. Everything from improving our website to the joys of self-publishing. I absolutely know I could and should be doing more on social media. I could and should be doing more with my family, attend more Zoom events sponsored by my brave little church, and figure out ways to support my community of Fort Collins as it copes with the twin demons of fires and coronovirus. 

Persons who give us unsolicited mini-writing lessons for improving our books. They have never published one themselves, understand, but instinctively know they could do a better job than nearly any other author out there. They would be glad to read our next manuscript and offer helpful suggestions before it reaches the publisher. 

Well at least the recent vice-presidential debate didn't make me cry. I confess the last presidential debate did. 


Irene Bennett Brown said...

Great post, Charlotte. A good gong so needed in many instances. Bring back the gong, please!

Donis Casey said...

Great idea! I'd be doing so much muting that my thumb would fall off!

Charlotte Hinger said...

Irene and Donis--a combination reply because you both agree with me. I can't tell you how much I yearn for days of the Bronte sisters who wrote in their lonely attics. Donis, I'm all in favorite of monitors simply muting a mike when someone's time is up in a debate.

As to my writing comments. . . . the only one that still just floors me is the person who wants to give me an idea and I can do the writing.

Donis I thought your recent post about living in France was one of the most beautiful ones I've read in a long time.