Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stranger than fiction

J and I went to see the film Stranger than Fiction yesterday. For those who aren't familiar with it, it's about a boring tax inspector who suddenly hears a woman narrating his life inside his head. He discovers that he is the main character in this writer's novel and that she (the superb Emma Thompson) is about to kill him off. As a writer, this was a really interesting conceit. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I actually found it a very moving idea, that one of my characters could actually come to life. How would I feel if I ran into one of them? Would I feel guilty about what I had done to them in my stories? Who are these people that we write about? I often wonder where the characters come from that pop into my head. Are they out there all the time and I just suddenly pick up their "signal" when I have tuned my brain to the right frequency? Or do I really conjure them up out of thin air? When, as I did on Thurs morning (thanks V & F!) I write an entire 1500 word short story, with a beginning, middle and end, and with at least four characters, where the hell did they come from? And now that they are out there, do they carry on with their lives when I am not writing them?

These questions may not be answerable, but I urge you to see the film. It has left me with so many thoughts about plot, about a writer's duty to her characters, to her readers, to herself. If you found out your main character was real, would you still kill him off?

Think about it.

6 comments:

Linera Lucas said...

This film is now in my Netflix queue, thanks to your recommendation!

I've linked to your fine blog. Hope you come to Tin House this summer.

Vanessa G said...

When I was staying at Anam Cara, I went to see Mary Maddison, the 'stone lady'... who reads your fortune skills and so forth from stones.

Im a sceptic... but it's part of 'Life's Theatre' especially in west Cork Ireland.

occasionally, Mary would say certain spirit visitoprs were in the room. No one I recognised, no names I knew. V disaapointing. I was 100% relaxed then, thinking it was all a bit of a sham.

Then. Up pops a woman called May. She knows me, she says.

I know no one called May.

She says she knows me because of colours.

I laugh, inside. What person did I ever know, called May, who had anything to do with colours? Ridiculous.

Woke up at three am that night.

One of my short stories, four times published, is called Tasting Pebbles. Its about a synaesthete called May.

original title of the story was 'The Colours of May'

http://www.artistryoflife.org/page.php?issue=4&author=14&title=19


vanessa

TitaniaWrites said...

Hi Linera,
nice to meet you - and enjoy the film!

Vanessa - that sent shivers down my spine. Blimey. Urgghhh. Go see the film then let's discuss it more.

TitaniaWrites said...

PS We're going to be there this summer - must go and see the stone lady!

ghettomama said...

are you still interested in feedback on your redesign..
I find the font size too small to read comfortably - it could be i am using a mac, it tends to change certain design stuff

love to james

jaq

TitaniaWrites said...

Hey Jaq - how lovely to hear from you! not very impressed by your blog - where is it?
Thanks re: font size. it could be your Mac. Will check out how my site looks on different people's computers.
Thanks for commenting!