I, on the other hand, was a bit skeptical.
Now, I'm not going to get into the whole plot, which, in my honest assessment, was full of holes, didn't have an enjoyable resolution, and had a couple of pointless characters thrown in the mix. (Yes, Olivia Wilde, I'm talkin' to you!) No, my plan is to take a look at how the main character, Rory Jansen, was depicted as an up and coming writer.
We've all seen the many toiling writers on the screen, from the glamorous Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City, to the grown-up Gordie writing short stories in Stand By Me, to the hellacious twist of Shakespeare's true identity in Anonymous. Or maybe you're one of those who loves the witty repartee found on Castle. But just how true to real life writing do any of these characters come close to emulating?
And that my friends is where The Words really shines!
In all the movies or television shows I've watched, this is the one film that captures a writer's struggles and how hard it is to really break into the industry. Hey, if they have to get the medical lingo right on shows like Grey's Anatomy and ER, then why is there an exception when it comes to the writing world?
|Does Rory even come close to doing|
the right thing?
At least he acts like a writer!
When I heard Rory say that he had his manuscript out to an agent a friend recommended, I groaned. No, no, no, I thought. No knowledgeable writer would send out a full manuscript to one agent and one agent only! At this point in the film, it was obvious that Rory wasn't even actively querying agents. But then later we see Rory's rejection. And then another rejection. And they keep coming until Rory ends up in that hopeless frustrated spot all aspiring writers hit at some point in the querying process. Yes, yes, yes, I thought. Hollywood finally got it right!
Keeping a Schedule
When I saw Rory on the screen spending every evening pounding out his manuscript on the computer without a whimsical thought passing through his mind and onto the viewers, I couldn't have been more delighted. One reason shows like Sex in the City and Men in Trees annoy me is the fact that the viewer has to have a running commentary on everything the female characters write. What I wanted to see when it came to Rory's rabid pursuit of a writing career was the fact that he took time at a specific part of each day to work diligently on his novel. No out of the blue strokes of genius here! Nope, he had a schedule every day -- snow, rain, wind, even on lovely summer evenings -- to dedicate his time to getting that rough draft finished.
Agents Don't Fawn
Going back to Men in Trees as an example, Anne Heche's character Marin Frist had agents from all over New York City fawning over her, sending her wine, chocolates, fruit baskets, weekend getaways, just so she would sign with one of them. I find this to be incredibly unrealistic. This day and age of the publishing industry I'd like to know of one agent who has sent anything to any writer just so he/she would sign with them. It just doesn't happen. In Rory's case, it never happened. When he finally submitted a manuscript to the already harried publisher he delivered mail to on a daily basis, the agent was less than happy to see yet another novel cross his desk, and from a nobody writer, no less.
Agents Do Get Excited About Your Work
That same publisher finally told Rory he read his book and wanted to know if anyone else had read it. Rory said no and the publisher was ecstatic. He loved Rory's novel! Yes, an agent can love your work too!
Writing Can Be a Lonely Profession
If not for Rory's wife, I don't think he would've ever got out much. He was practically glued to his computer. He wasn't letting anyone read his work, and perhaps that's why he suffered so much rejection (actually, I think that's exactly why he got so many of those dreaded form letters). It's hard to let outsiders in, even if it is your spouse, because most times they don't get what you're trying to do. That or they just don't care about reading any novel, not just yours. That's why it's important to have a community of writers that one can tap into. I think Rory's life may have turned out differently if he'd been more open in what he was trying to achieve. Maybe he wouldn't have ended up in such a bind in the end.
Being a Writer Isn't a Glamorous Profession
I say this one from experience. All my writer friends have kids, perhaps a job, late nights doing homework and early mornings shoving kids out the door and running off to work. That time we do get to write is precious. I've met grandmotherly romance writers who prefer writing erotica. I've met sci-fi writers who look like they haven't bathed or slept in more than a week. I've met magazine authors who look like they wouldn't know one thing about the topics they discuss until they open their mouths and wow me. I've met Western writers who love a comfortable pair of boots and some fringe. We don't all teeter around in Manolo Blahniks or shadow police officers for our next story. Every writer is different. There is no mold we all fit into. And Rory's character was no exception. He looked like an Average Joe (okay, with Bradley Cooper playing the role, he was a very nice-looking Average Joe!) who was bumming money from a father who just wanted to see him get a real job. Yeah, we've all been there!
Even with all the rejection, Rory continued on in his quest. At one point in the film, Rory tossed his manuscript into the trash. That's understandable. Sometimes we feel like we've hit a wall and that no self-respecting agent will ever take our work. But we have to be persistent. I wouldn't suggest following Rory's example in this department (Please, make sure it's your own work you're submitting!), but if you know you create good work and you have faith that there is a market, then keep at it.
I'm curious to know if any of you have seen The Words. Would you agree that it has one of the more realistic takes on being a writer? Are there any other films or television shows that you can think of that properly portray authors? Or ones that really get under your skin?