What Would You Dare to Write?

Monday, December 26, 2016
Photo by Pexels.com
I recently watched the movie “Nerve,” with my daughter. The movie was adapted from Jeanne Ryan’s young adult novel and follows the normally-reserved character Vee, who decides to step out of her comfort zone and participate in the online game, Nerve, which offers players a series of challenges in exchange for financial compensation. The dares start out harmless enough ($100 for kissing a stranger in a diner), but quickly progress to things like walking out of a department store in a stolen outfit for $2,500. Before long, Vee is no longer a player of the game, but a prisoner who must find a way to outsmart the game before she and her family lose everything in their possession.

The movie kept me on the edge of my seat, and from what I hear; the book has a similar pace. The players (and watchers) in “Nerve,” were mostly teens and younger adults—commonly perceived as a group of people more likely to take risks. But what if there was a similar game out there for writers? How far would we dare to go if the promise of lucrative payment hung in the balance?

I dare say if someone offered me $1,000 to submit a first draft of a novel to an agent I would hit send on that sucker quicker than the idea of embarrassing myself with a manuscript rife with typos would sink in.

For example:

  • Would a shy and introverted writer publicly post a short story online in the erotica genre if offered $5,000?
  • What kind of money would entice an writer to write about their deepest and darkest secret on their blog? $500? $1,500?
  • Do you think a journalist would submit a half-finished assignment full of errors to one of the editors who regularly supplies her work on a dare to make $3,000?
  • Would $20,000 be enough for an author to submit a horror manuscript to their literary agent who had already brokered a deal with a publishing house for a chick lit novel? Even if it meant losing representation?

I can’t help but believe I would be much more motivated to finish projects more quickly if the potential for a large bonus waited at the finish line. However, I don’t think I would have the nerve to sabotage working relationships with industry professionals and trusted clients for money, or write about the most mortifying moment of my life and post in on my social media feeds. But you never know, I guess.

What other dares can you think of that writers might participate in for this fictitious game of “Dare to Be a Writer?”

Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who probably plays it safe in the writing game a little too much. 


Sioux Roslawski said...


How about--for $100--that you tell one of your critique partners that their (well-written) piece stinks to high heaven, that nothing about it is salvageable?

The movie sounds intriguing, and your "dares" sound like they would make a great short story, if you'd like to take on the challenge.

Thanks for an entertaining post, Renee, and what a cute photo that is. You look too young to have a daughter old enough to watch a movie like that! :)

Margo Dill said...

I think I would like to watch that movie or read the book. You do present an interesting premise. I wonder if this is why writers are paid rather small wages, so that we will always present our best work. If we could make those amounts of money for poor work or for doing whatever we feel like, writing would probably be a whole lot easier profession, but not as satisfying.

Angela Mackintosh said...

What an intriguing idea, Renee. It makes you think about what is holding you back and whether money is a driving factor or if it even matters. On all of your examples, I thought nah, I wouldn't do it for that because I'm not in it for the money, but what if it were 100k? Hmm...

KAlan said...

Renee, I don't understand your fourth dare. Is submitting work in varying genres really that risky?

Renee Roberson said...

Sioux--I might to that for $100, but it would be so hard!
Margo--You should definitely watch it. I promise it will get your heart racing.
Angela--$100K does make a difference!
KAlan--Submitting work of different genres is great. What I'm talking about in the fourth dare is selling something like a chick lit novel (partial manuscript, etc.) to a publishing house and then not following through with the promised manuscript and turning in a horror novel instead. If that's not what the publishing house purchased, they might be a little miffed :-)

KAlan said...

Ah, yes. That would be quite a dare!

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