Friday, September 23, 2011


I am intrigued by the number of movies that include struggling authors as characters.

A recently released movie kicks off by introducing the hero: an author struggling to write his first novel. He is down on his luck. But then, something happens. The author has a rush of inspiration. He is brilliant. He is writing a novel overnight. He is writing a brilliant novel in record time.

He finishes his brilliant written-in-record-time novel. He is amazing. The world thinks he is amazing. He moves on. He is not an author any more: he is a stockbroker.

Hang on. What?

He is a stockbroker now because, let’s face it, brilliant people are stockbrokers, not authors.

This movie is based on a first novel and it starts with an author trying to write his first novel.

I can imagine the real life author sitting in front of his computer thinking, “What am I going to write?”. He does this day-after-day.

He writes a few sentences and then deletes them. He starts to panic. He starts to get that feeling you get when you have an assignment due in and you haven’t done any work yet. He gets this feeling even though no one is telling him to write a novel.

He starts to get desperate. He starts to type:

Blocked. Blocked. Blocked. Blocked. Blocked. Blocked. Blocked. Blocked. Blocked. Blocked. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blaaaaaaaaaaaah.

He stops. He gets up from his desk. He makes himself a cup of something warm. He sits down in front of his computer again. He thinks about what he is doing. He types:

Bradley was sitting at his desk, staring at a blank screen, when his girlfriend called…

Modern movies are full of characters who are authors that can't write. That just seems a little bit too easy to me; a little bit too obvious. The fact that these characters know that they are living a cliché doesn’t make them any less cliché.

But then, who am I to talk? Not an author who has had their first novel turned in to a Hollywood movie, that’s for sure.

It was a pretty good movie, by the way.

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