Monday, March 10, 2014

Writing 101: Let's Go to the Movies

Many authors write books about authors, because that's what they know. And I've learned that watching another writer struggle can be very beneficial to actual authors who may also be having trouble finding the right words. At least, it's helpful to me. So today I'm going to share my favorite movies about authors with all the other indie authors out there.

Stories Within the Story

It happens in Stephen King adaptations all the time. The main character or the main narrator of the film, or both, is an author. Or a writer. Maybe a poet. Even a screenwriter. They've all been the subject of film, books and anecdotes the world over. But some have the power to make you feel a lot better about your own writing. At least, that's what happens for me when I watch them.

  • Misery: A classic. To me, the most horrifying scene of the film is when Kathy Bates forces the author to burn his manuscript. My heart stops every time. I'm told that non-writers are more frightened by other scenes but trust me, this one is the scariest. Watch Misery next time you've got writer's block, and just imagine a crazy psychopath screaming at you to finish.
  • Capote: Starring the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Capote plunges the audience into the dark, disturbed genius of Truman Capote. His name appears often here at the blog because he had strange writing habits, and this film doesn't exactly shy away from his various quirks.
  • Julie & Julia: Writing isn't always about fiction. I love Julie & Julia because it features not one writer, but two. The movie details famous chef Julia Child, and the journey she took to write Mastering the Art of French Cooking. But the movie is also about blogger Julie Powell, and the journey she took to become a writer. Powell had a tiny apartment and a day job and plenty of stress, like so many indies. It's a great movie, and you should watch it. 
  • Stranger Than Fiction: The presence of Will Ferrell in the movie makes Stranger Than Fiction my favorite movie about an author. In this case, it's Emma Thompson. She's writing a book about Harold Crick, Ferrell, until she discovers that Harold is actually a real man. Ferrell is charming and funny in the film, Dustin Hoffman is a wonderful addition to the story and Queen Latifah is also totally in it so now you have no reason not to watch it right now.
Whether it's writer's block or some other problem you're facing, it's okay. You're not alone. Other writers have been there, and I can prove it. I can point you toward many different movies where authors, and their problems, take center stage. So sit back, watch, and revel in your problems a little. Then get back to the keyboard, and keep going.

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