Writing About Writers
(This originally appeared as a Guest Post on Everywhere And Nowhere. This fun blog is hosted by Kate who self-describes as “[a] reader, a reviewer, a composer of language, a listener of podcasts, a tasty treat maker, a procrastinator, a lady of ink, a purveyor of items with lenses.” Poke around her blog a bit — it’s a terrific resource full of original book reviews in lots of genres, photography and even product reviews.)
My latest book, Photographed in the Writer’s Room, is the second the Writer’s Room series. And in this series, I gave myself the unusual task of writing about writers.
Kinda meta, right?
I think I was initially drawn to the idea because somewhere in the back of my mind I had an old mantra that I learned when I was back in journalism school: “Write what you know.” As a new author, that seemed like a brilliant bit of advice.
But, of course, I had to go and completely ruin that idea by writing about writers who are so different from me, whose careers are so far removed from my own, that I ultimately had to do more research about the writers than I did for anything else in the entire series!
Oops. So much for writing what I know.
Turns out, there are a lot more kinds of writers than I had imagined. And frankly, most of their jobs are a lot more difficult than mine! For example, in my first book Hidden in the Writer’s Room, the writer that I created was a screenwriter and show runner for a hit TV series. Ryder Christensen’s office was actually the writer’s room for a snarky, office-place comedy filmed in Hollywood. So, you know, none of that is exactly in my wheelhouse as a suburban mom writer of romcom.
To get the details right, I had to research how television studios work, how writing teams develop scripts, how the filming and sets are run, when and how actors see their written roles, how voice over work is handled… I even had to learn how to actually write a script myself. While it definitely helped to be an author when it came time to get inside Ryder head (massive insecurities and inexplicable neurosis, anyone?), I sure didn’t know how he’d handle being interviewed by mass media or how he’d react to working with The Talent. I guess that is where the fiction part comes in.
With the second book in the series, Photographed in the Writer’s Room, I ran into some of the same issues. I did manage to stick a little closer to home – this time my writer was at least a novelist, albeit a prolific New York Times best-selling author. What made Michael challenging to write (besides his adorable crush on my main character, of course), was that he was going through the tortuous process of having to adapt his writing for film. As an author, I literally – not figuratively – begin sweating even contemplating that! It was a completely new kind of writing, one I’m grateful isn’t likely to be in my future. This time, my researched involved understanding how writers like John Grisham, Steven King, J.K Rowling and Stephanie Meyers have their work adapted successfully for film and television. (Spoiler alert – most of them don’t want to be involved in the actual writing either.)
It’s been bizarre writing about writers, but I don’t think I’m quite done yet.
Besides my current work in progress – the next book in my Writer’s Room series will feature a journalist – I’m convinced that some of the Indy authors that I’ve met and those that I follow on Instagram and Twitter deserve to be written about. They are fascinating! I’m pretty sure that writers are some of the craziest characters around (pun only very slightly intended).
In love and laughter,