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I’ve been watching ‘Alex and Emma’.  As a writer myself I’m always interested in films with a writing theme to them.

(Alex) Luke Wilson is a writer with a major debt to loan sharks.  He hires a stenographer (Emma) Kate Hudson. He dictates and she types.  It takes me forever to draft and redraft a simple email and I’ve got to be the one in control with pen in hand or fingers at the keyboard. If Alex doesn’t get his novel completed within thirty days he doesn’t get the advance that he needs to pay off the loan shark. If he doesn’t have the money the loan shark’s goons plan to kill him.

Now I’ve got to say that staying alive is an excellent motivator. But I couldn’t do it without major cut and paste revisions and the thought of getting it done from whoa to go in four weeks makes me perfectly dizzy.

Kate Hudson’s character does what we all do when we read a novel, she thinks she knows how it could have been done better and makes lots of suggestions along the way. Luke Wilson fights them at first but they make sense so he takes them on board after a while. And we are lulled into believing that she (we) could do it better.  My favourite scene is when Kate accidentally drops the day’s transcript in a rain puddle and tries (unsuccessfully) to re-write those pages herself.  Emma’s pages lacked tone; the story was as flat as that plain in Spain. This is when she and we realise that it’s not as easy as it looks.

I’ve only written one novel and it was such an abysmal failure that I’ve never had the nerve to repeat the experiment. On the other hand I might challenge myself to do it one day.  I think the day is getting closer. I’m older and while not necessarily wiser, I do have some life experience to draw on. But when the time comes it will be just me, one on one with my computer.

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