Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Do You Love a Good Story?

One of my writing profs at UT Dallas recommended that I rent "Stone Reader." So I watched it on Saturday.

In this two-hour documentary, an eighteen-year-old buys The Stones of Summer, a literary novel by a little-known author and starts reading it, but he just can't get into it. Yet twenty-five years later when he gives it another go, he loves the story. Unfortunately, when he tries to secure additional copies, he learns it's out of print. Then when he tries to track down the author, nobody knows where the guy is. The mystery sends the reader, Mark, on a yearlong search for the elusive author. The documentary chronicles his progress.

Along the way, Mark interviews teachers at the Iowa workshop, a New York literary agent, and lots of interesting writing experts who end up talking about what it's like to write a novel. By the end, Mark ends up with a video story that's the equivalent to a pageturner in which he presents a realistic picture of what's involved in writing a novel.
The film is for readers and writers and anyone who likes a good story. I won't spoil the ending for you, but if nothing else, pay attention to how they lay out the chronology for maximum suspense and satisfaction.

Do you know of other films with scenes about the writing process? I know of Factotum, Deathtrap, Adaptation, Barton Fink, Shattered Glass, Freedom Writers, and Finding Forrester. Do you know of others? If you'll help me compile a list, my students will love you for it.


rhon said...

I thought Stranger Than Fiction was wonderful. It explores the writers psyche, the narrative and the value of the ending. You can read my movie review here.

Leatherwing said...

Stephen King has written a few stories that deal with writing and writers. The Shining, Misery , and Secret Window all come to mind.

Erin said...

The beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring shows Bilbo Baggins writing his memoir.
The end of The Return of the King has Frodo completing Bilbo's memoir.

Teacher Man, by Frank McCourt, is a book that is more about the creative process of writing. He shows examples of word usage, rhythm, foreign languages, mixing genres and poetry, and it is very fun to read how he encouraged his students to think outside the box when it came to creative writing.