Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Writers Writing about Writers

Does anyone else feel like there are a ton of movies out there about writers?  I think that writers have a lot of stereotypes (and I'm not saying these are wrong), and I think writers like to write about themselves, and since writers are the ones writing screenplays, well... you can see why we might have a lot of movies about writers.

The latest movie I saw about writers was one I watched on Netflix recently.  It's called Author's Anonymous, and it seemed to incorporate many of these stereotypes in the characters. The gist is that a bunch of people are in a writer's group, and the story is about what happens when one of them makes it big.  And... it made me think about something.

There's a funny scene where the members of the writer's group all of a sudden assume that the newly-published writer's feedback is the most important. It's kind of assumed that she's a better writer than the rest of them, simply because she was published, even though a week prior, she was considered the same as everyone else. And, when it's her turn to share something that she's written, they won't give her any feedback - it's as if they assume that anything she writes is brilliant because of her publishing deal.

This scene is mostly funny to me because I've experienced it at a writer's conference I attended several years ago.  I saw people worship agents and published authors and hail their opinion as fact because they were sort of established in the industry. (Please note that these were not famous industry people - you would probably have no idea who they were if I told you their names, which I won't, mostly because I can't remember them.)

I'm not saying we shouldn't respect what people have to say about their area of expertise, but to automatically assume that everyone who works in the industry is spot on with advice, or is a wise soothsayer with the ability to accurately predict the market trends is a little foolish.

These people are humans. They have good days and bad days. They are able to hit something out of the park one moment, and the next, strike out completely.  Not every book that an agent picks up or a publisher publishes is a success (I think this is the GREAT SECRET that is out there, though).  Publishers turned down Harry Potter, I've heard agents laugh about the fact that The Lord of the Rings wouldn't be published today, and books that are touted as the something amazing end up at the bottom of the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble.

So, take it all with the proverbial grain of salt. Including this blog post.

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