How Hollywood gets writing wrong

Looking at Hollywood movies, you have to marvel at the fact that they were written by writers – people who presumably know a bit about writing. So how come they keep repeating the same erroneous clichés?

1. Movie writers use typewriters. Major characters in movies from Love, Actually to As Good As It Gets and many others bash away at typewriters. It’s more romantic, I guess, but I know of no novelist who still uses a typewriter. Novelists use word processors, and have probably done so since the late 1980s. A few hard cases write by hand… but a typewriter? (If you know of ones who do, feel free to enlighten me.) Of course, all movie writers who do use word processors have Macs. Again, I suspect at least half would have a PC of some sort rather than a Mac. But be that as it may.

2. When movie writers get to the end of the story, type THE END and sit back in triumph. In the next scene, they’re off to post their manuscript… When a real writer gets to the end of the story, they know they’re no more than halfway with the book. Movie writers don’t seem to know about rewrites. And who posts manuscripts anyway in the age of email?

3. In movies, even the possibility of publication is taken as a guarantee of riches. A while back, I saw a movie where the character gives up his job in America and goes to London because “a UK publisher might be interested in my novel…” Fool! Even if the book were to be published, you’re not going to make enough money to give up your day job. I know many writers, but only one who manages to live off fiction. Some combine fiction writing with work for publishers, etc. Hardly any fiction writer can afford not to have another job. You probably know most of the exceptions by name.