It would be The Amazing Race. Totally.
Scott posted about giving your characters problems to solve in the middle of the novel. He has some reasons why, so you should just go read his post from last week.
Anyway, immediately my brain went to reality TV. I mean, whose doesn't. *snarf*
So writing + reality TV = The Amazing Race!
This is how I make things connect in my brain. I told you it was a scary place to be.
Anyway, have you seen the show? No? It's pairs of people (married couples, sisters, engagees, fathers/sons, whatever) and they race from place to place around the globe. If they arrive last, they're out.
But it's not that simple. Along the way, they have to complete tasks. There are two main types of tasks: Roadblocks and Detours. In a Roadblock, only one person on the team can complete the task (like climb to the top of a building and jump off). In a Detour, both members have to do something (like build a desk or find a slip of paper inside a pie) together.
Anyway, so how does this relate to writing? I'm getting there.
We all know the basis of fiction is conflict. We want to keep the reader turning pages. So we have to set up the roadblocks--the problems--we need our characters to solve. Things that will help their character arc, help them grow and change into the kind of people they need to be at the end of the book.
In The Amazing Race, roadblocks are done by one member of the team, and here's the kicker: they don't know what the task is before they choose which person will do it. So if you're deathly afraid of heights (which I am), and you have to jump off a cliff...yeah, it makes them grow and change. Makes them solve problems.
So writers tackle the roadblocks themselves. We do the actual writing ourselves (unless you happen to be the luckiest person in the world and have a kewl sister to write with. I'm looking at you guys, Lisa and Laura).
Then we finish the book. And we turn to our Detours, aka Beta Readers. They tell us where we got off track, where we need more gasoline, where we need to hit the brakes, all of it. We get to work with another person to build something beautiful.
So writing is totally like The Amazing Race! Totally! And it feels good with every leg you manage to complete. Writing THE END. Writing the query. Sending the query. Getting a request. Sending material. Even waiting.
Writing really is The Amazing Race.
What do you guys think? Isn't this an amazing journey we're all on together?