Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Writers' Right To Write: 'Murder She Wrote' vs 'Basic Instinct.' Now, there's a thought; that busy-body old biddy Jessica (JB) Fletcher vs the also busy-body, but in a vastly different way of Catherine Tramell: Angela Lansbury vs Sharon Stone. Two actresses playing their role as novel writers at the opposite ends of the spectrum - the elderly citizen and the sex-siren.
But wouldn't the action in the TV series and the two movies have been slow if these women had been shown physically writing and typing their books. We never see the hard graft, and if you care to watch Mariella Frostrup's 'Book Show,' her guest writers usually seem to come across as stuck-up pompous asses who give the impression they dashed their novel off in a month; when publisher's expect it to take a year: and it does.
Thankfully, though, they are not all like that; Ian Rankin, Stephen King, J K Rowling, Martina Cole and others are much more recognisable as down-to-earth people just like us. But we the general public seem to have this odd idea that writers have a limitless supply of their books to give away.
Not true.
Well, not in the early years, anyway.
Minette Walters, Dorset's most famous writer who lives near Dorchester had a TV doc about her 'A Company Of Snakes' book screened a few years back. In it, she told us that she had spent 2 hours re-structuring one sentence to get rid of the word because, because she hates it: utter madness!
The garden party followed, when dozens of friends and relations arrived gushing monstrous adjectives in telling her how marvellous the book was; but they're all marvellous when they're Free, and with a Garden Party and complimentary eats and booze, even more so.
But the books only become Free when a writer has enough Royalties to take the expense without missing it, and Minette has achieved that level as many of her books have topped the Best Seller lists. But that TV doc, amongst others, pulled out all the stops in generating this ridiculous idea which seems to have stuck in people's minds; but a great deal of it, I am sure, was for the benefit of the documentary.
I have read all of Minette's books, my favourite is 'Fox Fire' and I have subscribed to her email newsletter for many years. She's quite a heavy smoker, and I admire her the most for naming her dogs Benson and Hedges.