Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Films about authors

We saw Saving Mr. Banks a few days ago and Salinger last night on Netflix. The common denominator in both was the authors' protective nature with respect to their protagonist.
Mary Poppins and Holden Caulfield were real people to their creators, P.L. Travers and J. D. Salinger, not characters to be sold to the highest bidder and converted into anything Hollywood imaged.
I loved their possessiveness.
Authors today are often an afterthought once a film is adapted. It's the magic of the filmmaker or director not the originator of the story who is lauded. Now I realize that bestsellers are the exception, as their publicists and agents protect the client's brand. But let's face it, even the screenwriter is unknown in original works. Name your favorite screenwriter.
It was so refreshing to see both of these two films in close proximity. It made me realize my journey with my own characters is not so different. I do believe it is hard for readers to understand how much a character haunts your thoughts during the writing process.
My characters tell me their story and appear when they feel the need to enter a scene. I will be in a coffee shop writing and audibly said, "what?" Just as a new character will stroll into a chapter. I'm caught off guard, yet intrigued. I keep writing to see what will happen next. My own plot will take new twists and turns that I hadn't anticipated.
I wonder about our relationships with our characters. Are they actual our multiple personalities? I would like to think they are otherworld beings who channel authors.
Regardless, writing can be lonely, joyful, or frightening depending on the characters you surround yourself with.
I have a tough time being alone with my character Marquel for long stretches, but St. Blair I could spend hours with, if only she'd hang around. She keeps a crazy schedule of short appearances. Guess you'll have to read the books to understand.
Until next time...

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