In the past couple of weeks, I have been going back and watching old episodes of Murder She Wrote. Since I have over one-hundred channels on my television and there is nothing worth watching, I am forced to resurrect old TV shows from twenty or thirty years ago. It all works because I can’t remember the old episodes and they are all new to me. I started at the very beginning of season one, episode one.
Do you know how Jessica Fletcher, the mystery writer/amateur sleuth, got her start as a famous writer? Well, it seems that on a whim, she just sat down and whipped out a book, which, somehow her nephew got ahold of. Without her knowledge or permission, he gave it to a friend of his who worked at a major publishing house, who passed it on to the head of the publishing house, who loved it. And just like that, the publishing house was calling her up and wanting to fly her to New York. Once she got to New York, the head of the publishing house personally wined and dined her, set up appearances on talk shows, and book signings, and gave her big bucks to write more books. Oh, and he committed a murder, which Jessica solved, but his arrest still didn’t detract from her sky-rocketing fame and fortune. I guess there were other high-ups in the publishing company. Without ever lifting her fingers from the typewriter, Jessica Fletcher became an instant, overnight success. She didn’t have to go to all the trouble of sending hundreds of manuscripts to publishers to be rejected or ignored. Or beg agents to represent her. Or market herself on social media. And I have never seen her taking any kind of writing workshop to hone her skills. Or even attend a writing conference and network with people.
As far as I know, J.B. Fletcher doesn’t even have a web site. Nor does she have to navigate the mysteries of Facebook ads, Amazon ads, and setting up a platform, all while paying big bucks to market her books. Yet, amazingly, everywhere she goes, everyone recognizes her and everyone has read her books. Wow! I can’t even get some of my friends and family to read my books. And I seriously don’t know when she has time to write because she is always gallivanting all over the world solving murders. (I really don’t want to be anywhere around the woman because everywhere she goes, someone turns up dead.) There are very few scenes in which she is actually working at her typewriter, and in every one, she is interrupted. She must have a much better ability to get back “in the zone” than I do. Whenever I’m interrupted it sets me back a good thirty minutes, and that is assuming I can remember where I was going with what I was writing.
Her instant fame and fortune have been a big let-down to me, a struggling author wannabe. I thought my writing experience would be like hers. I guess that’s why I write fiction. I will only be J.B. Fletcher in my wild imagination.