Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Stranger Than Fiction

Nearly six months before the release of this movie, a friend sent me a link to the trailer. She knew it would be more than to my liking, since she (and many others) have heard me express the mildly insane belief that I merely take dictation from characters. If you are a writer and have not seen this movie, shame on you! Take that with a grain of salt, but do see the movie. So charmed by the trailer, I attended opening day. Needless to say, I loved the film. It’s a delightful spin on the strange process of writing.

Upon second viewing, I had a moment of dismay. There seemed to be a plot hole. I’ll keep this as spoiler free as possible for those who have not seen it. But those who have should know exactly the moment I mean. When 'character' Harold Crick rushes to make his all-important phone call, it does not make sense within author Karen Eiffel’s Death and Taxes. Who is Harold rushing to call in that novel as she’s writing it? Fortunately, I had a good laugh as I realized the answer. Rather than being a flaw in the design of the film, this incident strengthens the entire premise. To me it represents a phenomenon that many (hopefully all) authors experience – when a character temporarily takes the reigns of the story and there is no choice but to see how it plays out. Often I find “character input” is better than what I had originally planned.

Call the collaboration between character and author Insanity or call it Inspiration. Either way, this is a wonderfully wacky, inspired film.

Bravo to writer Zach Helm!

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