Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Writer's Movie

If you haven't seen "Stranger Than Fiction," with Will Farrell, you must check it out. It is truly a writer's movie. Among other things, it examines the process of figuring out just what story your character belongs in - comedy? Tragedy? Often, you may have a character but are uncertain about the unfolding plot.

The movie also explores the writer's relationship with their characters - how close is too close? If a character truly becomes real enough, how do you deal with their death? Can your characters ever be too real? Can you ever get too close to them? Does a story have to be tragic to be profound?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

What if I'm a Sanjaya and I just don't know it?

Forgive the pop culture reference. I've been thinking about the need for critiques, outside eyes and even writing classes (something I've often been ambivalent about). Writers, indeed, any artist, must be able to gauge if their work is quality work, but we often don't feel able to trust ourselves or those close to us. We ask ourselves, "What if I'm producing garbage and I'm just unable to recognize it?" On the other hand, we have to develop a certain amount of steely confidence in order to survive the inevitable rejections and dismissals that come with seeking an audience for our work.

In the process of developing a tough skin, do we run the risk of building a wall so strong that valid criticism cannot enter?

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