10 March 2014
Author Article: Nic Tatano
My hugest thanks go to Nic for taking the time to write this for me.
You can buy Boss Girl as an eBook now!
HOW A PHONE CALL LED TO “BOSS GIRL
I’d been talking to a friend, a female television anchor who wanted to find a new job but was worried she was “too old.”
She was in her late thirties.
Television news may strive for diversity, but the oldest double standard still exists. Male anchors must be older and distinguished. Female anchors must be young and gorgeous. Sounds like something from the Mad Men era.
“It's a shame,” I said to her, “that you never see an anchor team with an older woman and younger man.”
And as soon as I got off the phone, I knew I’d come up with a concept for a novel. I’d seen plenty of credible women passed over for young pageant fembots who might have trouble spelling IQ. It was time to reverse the process, even in a fictional setting. It was time for an entire network and its affiliates to use that template for every newscast. Credible, smart, attractive middle-aged woman sharing the anchor desk with a smoking hot younger guy. A brain for the male anchor not a requirement.
So I had a concept. But not a plot. No problem. I started to do what I’ve always done.
It was time to wing it.
Now I know plenty of writers who do detailed outlines before they write one word of a manuscript. Some have rooms that look like a sticky note factory exploded, with slips of paper detailing every chapter and character. Others have a whiteboard with arrows going all over the place connecting characters and events resulting in something that resembles a formula drawn by a rocket scientist. A few have stacks of index cards with every scene in detail.
But I’ve always believed the plot is already in your subconscious. Your muse simply has to help you get it out. I love writing this way because I like to be surprised as much as the reader. What’s the fun of writing a great plot twist if you already know it’s coming?
Usually when I write a novel I have a concept, a beginning and an end. But I have no earthly idea how I’ll get to that ending.
In this case I had a beginning and a concept, but no end. Whatever. I was so excited by the idea I started to write Chapter One, and by the end my intelligent thirtysomething network executive Sydney Hack had hired her first hot male anchor who otherwise might have had a career as a very attractive doorstop. And by then I also had my ending. (Don’t worry, I hate spoilers, so you’ll get no hints here.) The middle would be filled with female television executives turning the broadcasting industry upside down with great success. Yes, I went over the top with their actions, but only to illustrate how ridiculous the double standard is. Men have been acting this way for years.
Twenty-nine days later, I had a novel. And as I suspected, the entire plot was in my subconscious, surprising me along the way. Things I’d written in the early chapters amazingly became key plot points toward the end of the book. It always seems to work out that way, at least for me.
Maybe Boss Girl will start a real life trend in broadcasting, one which is certainly overdue. Till that day you can enjoy the fictional escapades of women who know what they want and take no prisoners along the way.