Monday, January 24, 2022

Movies About Writers, Publication Journey, #IWSGPit, Best Movies and Albums of 2021, and Jeremy Hawkins Tribute

Movies About Writers by Shannon Lawrence

As long as there are movies, there will be movies about writers. After all, who's writing the screenplays? Writers. The crazy thing about it is that movies about writers are rarely realistic, which seems odd, because, as we've already discussed, it's actual writers writing about writers. I suppose if they made them realistic the films would be pretty dull. Who wants to watch a person struggling over a typewriter, notepad, or laptop? There'd be no dialogue except muttered profanity and the same line read repeatedly aloud to figure out if it sounded right. Is this adverb too much? What kind of clause is this? Still, accurate or not there are many superb movies about writers. Here are five of the better ones, in no particular order:

1. The Shining - All work and no play makes writers...well, out of shape. But in The Shining, one of several movies about writers based on Stephen King stories, that plus cabin fever make Jack a rampaging madman. I guess we're lucky this isn't true, as we've all got a little cabin fever after the last couple years.
2. Dead Poets Society - I debated putting this one on the list, but come on, it's such an excellent film. "Oh, Captain, my Captain." If only all readers stood atop their desks out of sheer inspiration.
3. Romancing the Stone - Writers spend a lot of time at their desks instead of living life to its fullest. In this classic, a timid romance author gets the adventure and romance of her fantasies and takes us along for the ride.
4. Capote - With the excellent acting pair of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener, you can't go wrong with this film. Truman Capote gets in over his own egotistical head when researching a true crime with the intention of turning it into a full length novel.

5. Julie and Julia
- While the writing in this one has to do with cookbooks and blogs, it only seems right that the blogging community be represented. The least serious of the movies above, this one's sweet, light, and...tasty.

Though short story writers are rarely featured on film, many short stories are made into movies. All the better a reason to get into writing short stories!

Shannon's book, The Business of Short Stories: Writing, Submitting, Publishing, and Marketing, releases February 1 in digital and paperback. Pre-order The Business of Short Stories from Amazon

Shannon Lawrence has made a career of short stories, with over a decade of experience and more than fifty short stories published in magazines and anthologies. In addition, she's released three horror collections with a mix of new and previously published stories. Her true crime podcast Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem is going into its third season.
Find Shannon here - Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, BookBub, Goodreads, and Amazon

The Journey to Publication

How did I get here —here being published with my first book (KNIGHT RISE) out in the marketplace? To say that I took a long and winding path would be an understatement and probably take more than 300 words to tell, but I’ll do my best. Knight Rise was my first attempt at writing a novel, penned in 2009. In the book a main character is a blogger, so I started a blog as research. That inevitably led me here to Alex’s site. Unfortunately, it didn’t take me long to discover that I’d made all the mistakes an aspiring author could make with KR. I decided to shelve it and move on, which I did, writing five more novels over the course of twelve years. Along the way I was signed by not one, but two different literary agents, had multiple books put on submission with publishers, came REALLY close a couple of times, but could never land the deal that would put a book into a reader’s hands.
In 2021 two things happened, both virtually at the same time. The first was I decided to pull Knight Rise off the shelf. I figured I had developed as a writer to the point where I could repair all the missteps I had made when I first wrote it, and besides, I always loved its story and the characters. Around the same time, I was contacted by a woman who I had become acquainted with at one of the writer’s conferences I attended years prior. She had plans to open her own bookstore (Wild Lark Books) and at the same time offer small press publishing deals – the kicker being the authors would keep all the rights to their material. The best part was she wanted me to be her first published author. The rest, they say, is history.
It’s been quite a ride and I want to thank Alex for all his support over the years, as well as the time here today. It means a lot!
Here’s the pitch. KNIGHT RISE is a fast-paced, intriguing page-turner with a lot of heart. Follow a crew of enjoyable characters through stunning plot twists for a thrilling ride you won’t forget! If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, or you want to find out more about DL or his journey, go HERE. The book can also be found on Amazon.

DL Hammons
wrote his first piece of fiction to impress a girl in high school (it was moderately successful) and he’s never looked back. A business graduate from Louisiana State University, DL now lives in Central Arkansas with his best friend (wife of 38 years) enjoying the empty nest his two grown sons and daughter have left him with. He has spent the last dozen years perfecting his writing voice, splitting time between YA and adult Mystery/Suspense. He also hosts an annual contest for other aspiring writers entitled WRiTE CLUB on his popular blog.
DL is represented by Tina P. Schwartz of the Purcell Agency.

Top Movies and Albums of 2021

Movies were still a bit limited this year but albums certainly weren’t—near the end of 2021, I was downloading a new album every week. The following is my list of the best of the best. Understand that I lean toward science fiction, fantasy, and superheroes when it comes to movies and my musical genre of choice is progressive rock.

Top 2021 movies:

6 – Godzilla vs. Kong
5 – Dune
4 – Spider-Man: No Way Home
3 – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
2 – The Suicide Squad
1 – Zach Snyder’s Justice League

Top 2021 Albums

9 – Mastodon – Hushed and Grim
8 – Silver Lake – Silver Lake
7 – Jerry Cantrell – Brighten
6 – Insomnium – Argent Moon
5 – Katetonia – Mnemosynean
4 – Omnium Gatherum – Origin
3 – Gojira – Fortitude
2 – Chevelle – NIRATIAS
1 – Dream Theater – View From the Top of the World

Jeremy Hawkins Tribute

On January 3, we lost an amazing guy – Jeremy Hawkins.
On February 2, we are going to pay tribute and give back to one who was so giving and involved in our community.
To honor his life and support the family he leaves behind, on that day:
• Post a story or memory about Jeremy.
• Post photos of Jeremy.
• Share some of the graphics he made for you.
• Post a photo of you wearing one of the t-shirts he designed.
• And to support his family, between now and then, purchase one of his t-shirt designs, one of his books, or one of his prints. (He also created the IWSG t-shirt.)
Spread the word and let’s pay tribute to one of the most supportive and loyal guys ever to cross our paths, Jeremy Hawkins.

#IWSGPit is this Wednesday!

If you’ve never participated in a Twitter pitch party, this is your chance.
Dozens have signed book contracts as a result – you could be next.
Visit the #IWSGPit page for the rules and hashtags.
And then join us on January 26!

What movies about writers do you enjoy? Would you stick with it as long as DL did? What were some of your favorite movies and albums of 2021? Helping us celebrate Jeremy’s life next week? And who’s up for #IWSGPit this Wednesday?
See you February 2 for IWSG day!


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

For once, I've actually seen all the movies listed! I do like films about writing. :) Good for DL for his perseverance!

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

I have seen all five of those films about writers. Running down the list again, I can add that I have seen each one multiple times. I can offer an example of an exciting and entertaining scripted TV series that centers around a screenwriter struggling with writer's block, staring day and night at a blank paper in his typewriter and filling the trash receptacle with false starts. In American Horror Story: Double Feature (2021) Part 1: Red Tide, a frustrated writer from NYC trying to find his muse on a three month vacation in Provincetown, Massachusetts, is offered a bag of mysterious black pills. When taken, the peculiar pellets instantly transform him into a brilliant and prolific writer. They also turn him into a bloodthirsty vampire, but that's neither here nor there.

I admire all of you for organizing a tribute to honor your fallen friend and colleague Jeremy Hawkins.

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I really enjoyed Romancing the Stone and Julie and Julia. Congrats to Shannon and DH on their new books. It sounds like DH came so close to publication over the years. Glad he stuck with it.

Jemi Fraser said...

This makes me want to rewatch Romancing the Stone!
Congrats to Shannon and DL! It's great to see blogging friends succeed and do well!!

Joanne said...

Congrats to Shannon and DL - they obviously put in the hard work. Good for them. I like the aura of writing - especially journalists - a newspaper movie is always exciting. I'll agree with Shang Chi on your list. As far as your music - we are on different planets - and that's okay! Have a good week.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, good for you!

Shady, a prolific writing vampire - think I will pass.

Joanne, that is okay!

Andrew Leon said...

I thought you had Godzilla/Kong as your #1 movie for a moment, and it almost broke my head.

Elephant's Child said...

As I so often say. Hooray for writers, and congratulations to those that finally make it to the publication stage. Keep writing. Please. This greedy reader appreciates your hard work immensely.

PT Dilloway said...

Some other good movies about writers include Finding Forrester, The World According to Garp, The End of the Tour, and Authors Anonymous, which is an indie movie about unpublished/small time authors.

PT Dilloway said...

Oh and Wonder Boys is another great writer-related movie. I don't know how I forgot that one. Tobey Maguire, Robert Downey Jr., Michael Douglas, and Frances McDormand make a terrific cast. said...

Dead Poets Society was one of Robin Williams many masterpieces, right? Powerful.
Julie and Julia was good, and it made me jealous. If only fame came so easily to bloggers.

Have a peaceful week, Alex.

J E Oneil said...

Huh, would've thought No Way Home would be higher.

What about books about writers? There are even more of those than movies!

Liz A. said...

I remember Romancing the Stone... Stick with it as long as DL did? I've been at it longer as of right now.

Susan Kane said...

Loved the movies you listed. It is exactly what we watch. 2021 movie watching was strange.

Mary Kirkland said...

Godzilla vs Kong was really good. I love the Godzilla movies.

Lynda Dietz said...

Congratulations to DL! Cheers to the published book and to hopefully many more to come.

I have seen about half of the movies about writers, and really enjoyed Julie and Julia because of the blogger angle of it.

Your top picks all look great, and I'm sorry to say I've only seen one of them (Dune), but since I have a TBW list as long as my TBR, I'll get to them eventually.

Birgit said...

I have not seen many movies from 2021 but hope to see a few more. I think there are some great films about writers never mind that great like Dorothy Parker, F.Scott Fitzgerald etc... worked on film scripts. I love the writer films chosen here but I can a dd a few you know...
Sunset Blvd.
Ghost Writer
The Wonder Boys
The Lives of Others
Best Seller
Finding Neverland
Saving Mr. Banks
Funny Farm
There are more that I could place here as you know.
I did not know Jeremy well but I enjoyed reading his blog and seeing his creativity so I plan on posting that day.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Congratulations to DL! It's fun to share a post with him.

Elizabeth, I also enjoy films about writing. It was hard to winnow it down to a list of five.

Shady, I was surprised there weren't more writers talking about that. The fact that those who were truly talented thrived on the capsules and those who didn't have real talent paid for it was a great way to add horror to it for authors.

Natalie, Romancing the Stone will always be a favorite of mine. Which is funny, because I've never been much into romance.

Jemi, I watch it annually, at least! But I haven't watched some of the others recently, so need to rewatch those.

Joanne, newspaper movies can definitely be exciting! I'm betting you have to be a little bit of a adrenaline junkie to be engaged in that sort of media.

Andrew, I thought the same thing at first.

Elephant's Child, thank you! I'm with you. The world will always need new books.

PT, I haven't heard of that last one, so will have to check it out. It was hard getting the list down to five good ones. I actually briefly had Wonder Boys on the list, but traded it for one about blogging, because it felt right.

Robyn, he was such an amazing actor that didn't get to explore that as fully as he could have before the end.

JE, oh man, so many! The funny thing is that writers are discouraged to write about writing (I imagine because it's overdone?), but I don't usually see writers complaining about those books.

Liz, I hope you find success soon.

Susan, they're good ones, aren't they? Of course, there were so many others that could have been listed.

Mary, it was good for sure.

Lynda, for all the movies about writing, blogging doesn't make it into many.

Birgit, all good ones! It was hard to narrow it down. Funny Farm is an annual December watch. His wife finding success while he's pounding away hits a raw nerve.

Alex, thank you so much for having me today! I'm glad I wasn't the only one who liked Suicide Squad.

DMS said...

I loved The Shining and Dead Poets Society. I have not seen the rest. Interesting to think about the movies about writers.

I can't believe I haven't seen any of the movies! I am behind on my movie watching. :)

Nilanjana Bose said...

Another writerly film I enjoyed was Iris.

Saddened by Jeremy's passing. I didn't know him personally but totally loved his badges for the A-Z, I will miss them.

Sandra Cox said...

I love the idea of combining a bookstore/publishing company.
Hope Di is reading this. Grin.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex and DL - congratulations to you both ... you spur us on - as you've shown us authorship is possible ...

Shannon too - her book will be so useful to budding short story writers.

I haven't been to the cinema - I'll wait til our art-gallery one reopens in a couple of months ... I'd like to see Dune ...

Cheers and all the best to one and all for the coming year - Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

PT, been years since I saw The World According to Garp - forgot it was about a writer.

JE, true!

Susan, it was. See it in the theater and then watch it at home again the next week...

Mary, so do I!

Birgit, Saving Mr. Banks! Good one!

Shannon, you're welcome.

Nila, he made the badge the year you were one of my minions as well.

Botanist said...

Yeah, portrayals of writers in movies and TV are laughable. They have a lot to answer for, because they imprint such unrealistic expectations in people's minds.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I cannot think about anything or make a comment on movies when I have discovered my friend, Jeremy, had died. I am losing too many friends lately. :-(

J Lenni Dorner said...

Finding Forrester (YA)
Suburban Girl (technically an editor, but excellent romance)
Secret Window (horror)

DL Hammons -- so proud of him!

I have my Jeremy Hawkins tribute written. It's mostly screenshots of chats we had. But it shows his dedication to graphics and the AZ people.

Have a great pitch party.

cleemckenzie said...

Huge congrats to Shannon, and she gives some great advice about why to write short stories. Hats off to DL as well.

My movie watching is just about zero these days, but I'm keeping a list for when I do have time for a good one.

Computer Tutor said...

Great discussion. I can't say I considered any of those movies about writers in my top ten. I'm not an 'ernest hemingway', earnest-but-pained sort of writer. Maybe that's why. And the list of movies--I saw Dune, eager to see the next, but missed the rest. Maybe if I lived close to you, you'd drag me along to see more of them.


Shannon Lawrence said...

Jess, there are so many good ones! Comments above reveal some I haven't seen either.

Nilanjana, I'm not sure I've seen Iris. Will have to check it out.

Patricia, what did your husband think?

Sandra, I'd be curious to visit that business as well.

Hilary, I haven't seen Dune yet, either.

Botanist, that was one reason I stopped watching Mike and Molly (tv show). When she so easily became a published author and had a big advance, I got frustrated.

Roland, I'm so sorry for your losses.

J Lenni, I don't think I've seen Suburban Girl.

Lee, I hope you get a movie break sometime soon!

Jacqui, most of these I enjoyed before I was a writer (especially in the case of Romancing the Stone and The Shining), so that may have something to do with it, too.

G. B. Miller said...

I haven't watched any of those movies but I did enjoy both the book and movie adaptation of "The World According to Garp".

Funny thing though, if you really want to watch movies about writers, you have to check out the Hallmark Movie Channel. One of the top five jobs featured in a given movie plot is being a writer, usually suffering through the usual things that writers go through: deadlines, writer's block, well being dry, etc. Always nicely done and always interesting.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ian, like writing a book and getting an offer right away?

Roland, the news hit me hard as well.

J, his family will appreciate that.

Jacqui, unfortunately not going to movies at the moment. Waiting for the current surge to die down.

GB, maybe that's what the Hallmark movie writers are going through?

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thanks for another informative post, Alex. I always learn stuff. It was nice reading about your history, DL. And Shannon, a huge congratulations on your new release. Best to you all.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I loved Romancing the Stone. Out of all the movies mentioned with writers at their center, that is the one that does it for me. Thinking about it brings back nice memories. My favorite part of the show was when they are in the village, and a villager there takes the two main characters for a ride in his "Little Mule, Pepe."

Rhonda Albom said...

Reading your lists makes me wonder if I just missed 2021.

However, I have seen all the movies about writers and loved Romancing the Stone - but for the fun, as from a traveller perspective it also deviated from reality.

And as for writer's writing about writers - I loved this line, "There'd be no dialogue except muttered profanity" I have been writing some flash fiction lately, and can totally agree. Condensing it down means more precision and therefore more muttered profanity.

Truedessa said...

I liked Romancing the Stone, now I feel like re-visiting that movie. I haven't seen many new movies. I enjoy listening to Dream Theater with a glass of wine as I ponder their lyrics.

I will have to visit Jeremy's sight. I remember him posting on my blog a few times. I will have to search for one in remembrance on 2/2/22.

Congrats to the showcased writers on their release. Wishing you continued success.

Have a great weekend, Alex!

Annalisa Crawford said...

My absolute favourite film about a writer is Stranger Than Fiction with Emma Thompson narrating Will Ferrell's life. It's a more subtle performance by Will and such a fun story. It doesn't look like anyone else has mentioned it - am I alone in my love of it?

Congrats to Shannon and DL on their releases.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi Alex.

Congrats to Shannon and DL!

Yes, I have hung in as long as DL and will finally have one of my short stories published by the IWSG Anthology! Thank you, Alex and the whole IWSG team, as well as all the judges. I am thrilled and grateful!

YAY for the IWSG Pitch. This is my third one, and thankfully I had one like for my Contemporary YA. Fingers crossed. Hopefully, the agent will like what she reads.

I ordered Shannon's books and plan to submit more short stories and magazine articles this coming year. It never hurts to have more publications under your belt when querying your next novel.

DL Hammons said...

Thanks again to Alex for highlighting me this week. It was an honor to share the spotlight with Shannon - someone else with who've I've been acquainted for a long time.

And thank you as well to everyone who commented. Supporting each other is one reason why the blogosphere is as influential as it is.

Take care!

Donna K. Weaver said...

We haven't seen Dune yet. I'll wait until part 2 comes out.

Fundy Blue said...

Congratulations to Shannon and DL! I'm so sorry about your friend, Jeremy.

Melissa said...

I didn't know Jeremy well, but I will join in the tribute with my February IWSG post.

Toi Thomas said...

I'm excited about Shannon's book and was happy to feature her on my blog as well. Knight Rise sounds like a fun book. I really like your picks for the Top 2021 movies.

J.Q. Rose said...

Two excellent articles today. Congratulations to Shannon and D.L. on their new releases. Yes, I have read Shannons's--loaded with great info for writers. I've watched a couple of the movies she spotlighted. Next step checking Netflix for availability! Thank you.

Cherie Colyer said...

A movie about my writing life would definitely put people to sleep. I enjoyed both guest posts. Thanks for sharing.

I'm behind on my movies, I've only seen Spider-Man: No Way Home, which I did enjoy!

SpacerGuy said...

I am shocked to read Jeremy Hawkins is gone. He was so good to co-hosting with A to Z. His graphic blog artistry illustrates happiness delivered by a gifted mind, thanks Jeremy.

Congrats Shannon Lawrence and DL Hammons. I am intrigued by all the hard work you guys done just to get where you are today. That first sentence, paragraph or introduction is really what hooks the reader. I guess I'm still learning, anyway thanks for sharing.

Mark said...

At a writer's conference, We discussed the same issues about writers writing TV shows and films that depict writers and how off they are, but at the same time the trend continues. I think it comes down to the fact that writers prefer to use fiction to entertain, and what's more fictional than how we depict our own occupation? ;)

Al Penwasser said...

The Shining was one of those movies based on a Stephen King book which I actually enjoyed.

Al Penwasser said...

By the way, Rear Window was a great movie.

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Alex. I am late to the party. Couldn't visit last month. Thank you for putting that list of movies about writers. Wonderful to read about Shannon and DL.
Sonia from

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations, Shannon and DL!
I remember to participate in IWSGPit! But no bites this time...

Shannon Lawrence said...

G.B., how funny! But I can completely see that, considering how many romances involve writers. Surprising that it would be more realistic, but then it plays into the tensions in the rest of the story, I bet.

Joylene, thank you!

Michael, yes Pepe! I love that whole scene. Big, bad cartel leader, and he's a romance reader. Funny that the name of the truck is so memorable, but I can't remember the man's name to save my life.

Rhonda, glad you can relate! Or maybe I shouldn't be glad about that part. RtS is definitely unrealistic, but so fun.

Truedessa, thank you! Sounds like a lovely way to pass some time.

Annalisa, that's definitely a good one, so not just you! I'm not a big fan of his, but this was a better delivery than usual.

Michael, fingers crossed and luck wished on all your submissions!

DL, I scoff when people put out the question of whether blogging is dead for that very reason. Such a wonderful, supportive group.

Weaver, that's also what we're waiting for.

Fundy, thank you!