Last Monday night, ABC Television’s “Bachelor in Paradise” wrapped. It was the show that almost wasn’t.
After a well-publicized scandal involving two cast members, Bachelor/ette Alums, Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson, the network shut down production and sent the entire cast home from the Mexican beach resort-set.
This move left all the thirsty, lovelorn slugs who signed on for a second or third try at love via the franchise both parched and partnerless; and the loyal viewers glum at the thought of waiting until January for our next installment of “The Bachelor.”
But the show must go on, and in the end, it did.
And so, here are ten lessons about writing (and life) that can be gleaned from the summer’s hit show about sex, drinking, lust, and general debauchery:
10. Money Talks. But Skill Thrills.
Corinne is the daughter of a wealthy man. Daddy Miami-Beach-Bucks. So no one dares tell her she is behaving like a drunk. Plus, when she’s drunk, she seems to get a free pass to behave badly.
But it’s okay. That’s just Corinne. Many of her female cast-mates suck up to her because…well, duh. And some of the males…well, you know–hook Corinne and life becomes an Abercrombie & Rich advertisement. You Big Dollah Ballah.
So how does that relate to writing?
Ever get frustrated to learn some young celebrity is now a published author while, for the rest of us, getting the elusive publishing contract is an exercise in slogging through mud? Yup. Me too.
That’s why you have to hone your craft and dedicate yourself to writing. It is the only way to rise above the slush pile. Be so good, they can’t turn you down.
9. Class Beats Sass
DeMario Jackson went home after facing accusations of…well, use your imagination…or Google.
But, during one of the later episodes, DeMario was given the opportunity to speak to a studio audience of Bachelor fans in a one-to-one interview with Chris Harrison.
What I saw was a man who had taken a horrible accusation and handled it with grace and dignity. He rose above the recrimination.
As a writer, rise above the roar of the haters. If a troll targets you or your work, don’t dignify it with a response. Move on. Keep writing. Most people are savvy enough to know a troll when they see one.
As for a bad review or two, it’s tough not to take it to heart, but one person’s opinion does not define you. Hold your head up. Show up. Speak softly.
8. Your Success Has Nothing to Do with Race, Gender, or Orientation
This season, “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in Paradise” was more integrated than ever before.
In fact, Bachelorette Rachel Lindsay was the first African-American lead in franchise history. Bravo. What took so long?
So this summer on “Paradise” it was lovely to see a more inclusive cast.
Even Jamie the self-proclaimed mixed-race bi-sexual had no shortage of people interested in her when she arrived at the zero-hour.
And so writers, it may seem to those of us who are writing while white and middle-aged that there aren’t many people looking to hear our voices anymore. Those of us who worked and raised children are now too late for the game.
Everyone is clamoring for work from Non-Binaries, Trans, People of Any-Color-But-White, and the Young & Restless, BUT that’s not so. There are so many journals out there, but they aren’t going to announce themselves in your email with a trumpet flourish.
Nope. You’ve got to find your niche and find your own voice. Someone out there is looking for you. You just have to find the right market. And above all, don’t be a douchebag.
7. Drunk Isn’t a Good Look on You.
Yeah, this may appear redundant, but it is worth saying. Male or female, drunk makes you either a pathetic person, a sloppy person, a loud boor, or three shades away from a homicidal maniac.
Don’t drink and write. You are not more interesting or talented when you write drunk. You are either pathetic, sloppy, loud, or nuts.
Remember, even buzzed writing is drunk writing.
6. Pride Precedes a Fall.
The last two bachelorettes to join Paradise were frequent cast members and twins Emily and Hailey.
They were determined to break up two couples in order to go on a double date with the men from the respective pairs.
And they were a tad arrogant about it, too.
So imagine their surprise when first choice Dean and second choice Jack Stone shot the girls down cold. They flipped off the cast and then acted like fools before their exit limo swept them away.
The take-away? You’re not the best writer in the world. But you’re not the worst either. Work hard. Be humble. Press on. Be thankful. And always, always be kind.
5. Don’t Throw Your Pearls Before Swine–and Don’t Throw Your Swine to the Pearls
After the cast was dismissed due to the scandal, handsome Dean and adopted Russian-orphan Kristina went back to the States and got a bit cozy. Upon returning to Paradise, however, it became anything but cozy for Kristina. More like three’s company.
Dean had a wandering eye. And it landed on D-Lo, who arrived later. Men are hunters after all. Or swine. Depending on which pearls of wisdom to which you ascribe.
When writing fiction, leave the good stuff to the reader’s imagination. No one wants to know the climax of the story before the rising action plays out. Readers love to hunt for a solution. We don’t want to know it in Chapter Three.
4. Cry? You Cry Alone
After losing Dean to D-Lo, Kristina spent most of the rest of the season bawling in misery. And while a few castmates–all male–gave her a shoulder to cry on, everyone else turned their back on her. Especially cast-favorite Raven who showed her true colors in a show-down with Kristina under the guise of friendship. Yeah, with friends like Raven and Jasmine, who needs enemies?
Pick your writing tribe carefully. Criticism and feedback is essential, but it is better when it comes from people who not only care enough to tell you the truth, but also those with no guiles or wiles or fake-fascade smiles.
3. She’s Just Not That Into You
Poor Robbie. He’s every girl’s Ken Doll. Handsome, articulate, employed (I think), well-dressed, and smoothly Southern, Robbie placed first-runner up during his first season on the Bachelorette, so he certainly shouldn’t have had to chase three-time loser Amanda for a kiss this summer.
Yup, Amanda’s been on this show so many times, I’m not sure she’s ever home for her two daughters, but that’s none of my business. She’s on a man-hunt. And this season, she’s playing hard-to-get.
Every time Robbie tried to kiss the newly coy Amanda (who last summer couldn’t stop sucking face with sweaty, pizza snarfing Josh) she turned her other cheek. Literally. No lip.
I wanted to scream, “Dude, she’s just not that into you!”
And so, dear writers, you will get rejected. A lot. Yes, it hurts. A lot. But don’t mourn longer than a day. After that, put on your big-girl pants or your big-boy shirt and take care of business.
Maybe your latest manuscript isn’t as ready as you thought. Perhaps your market research was lacking. Learn from your setback and step forward.
2. Know When to Hold ‘Em, When to Fold ‘Em and When to Walk Away
Gorgeous, willowy blond nurse Danielle analyzed the direction that the wind was blowing the palm trees, and she knew her prince was not among the other contestants. She walked away from a free extended stay in paradise to accept a year-long nursing position in Africa, working with the neediest of patients.
Of course, when she left, she planted a smoochy kiss on long-time friend Wells (who was serving as a bartender at the resort but was off-limits as a contestant). Seems to me, Wells and Danielle will have some catching up to do when she returns from her third-world mission.
Well played, Danielle!
Sometimes, a writer just doesn’t want to give up on a manuscript. And sometimes she should. Know when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, and when to walk away. Yes, years of work may seem like a terrible thing to waste, but becoming a published author is a helluva long internship. You can gain more momentum going forward than keeping your eyes glued on your rearview mirror.
1. Don’t Be Scallop-Fingers
No one thought self-proclaimed virgin Christen (from Nick’s season) would do very well on Paradise, but she ended up being asked on four one-on-one dates.
You see, Christen had a nickname that not even she was aware of: SCALLOP-FINGERS.
Apparently it stuck after a group date on Nick’s season of “The Bachelor” when, after eating at a restaurant, they went out dancing. Christen took a doggy-bag of scallops with her, and on the limo ride home later that night, ate the buttery little mollusks with great enthusiasm.
Finger licking good and all that, Christen later managed to get her butter-fingers on another contestant’s bare shoulder. And the rest is history. And it stinks.
Don’t self-publish a book unless it is polished to a brilliant shine. You only get one chance to make a name for yourself. And if your name smells of leftover seafood, readers will avoid it like the break room at work after someone has nuked her gelatinous fish-dish, lutefisk.
All in all, this summer wouldn’t have been the same for me without “Bachelor in Paradise.” So glad it returned.
It gives my writer’s imagination some time to veg out, and makes me thankful my days of alcohol-fueled, hormonal debauchery are closed. For good.
Thanks for reading!
Susan J. Anderson
Foxy Writer Chick