Books

Molly Ringwald on writing fiction as an actor

molly-ringwald-thumb-nyt.jpgActress Molly Ringwald writes in the New York Times that some find it unusual that actors such as her can and do write fiction. She says it's surprising more actors don’t write, since fiction draws on many of the same skills. Of course, she works in a mention of her novel.

The appeal of diving into a character has always been the back story: everything that my character has been through up to the point when the audience first encounters her....

A friend of mine recently shared with me how she saw a character I had written in my new novel, “When It Happens to You.” “Marina’s hair is wild — long and curly,” she stated. “And I definitely see her as a bohemian type. Free-spirited.” I listened to her portrait with interest and bemusement. It was when she casually added the “Putumayo” dress that she saw Marina wearing that I had to draw the line. But I realized that there was something in my character’s personality that reminded my friend of someone in her brain’s hard drive.

Marina is described as strong and independent, with a snappy sense of humor and commitment issues. Somehow those details added up to my friend sartorially as a breezy hippie dress. It was at this moment that I realized that writing fiction gives you only the illusion of control. A writer will never be able to control entirely how his or her words are read, just as an actor will never be the one to decide which take will be used. Unless you also become the director. But then there is the producer who will have a say. Then you become the producer, but there will always be the studio.

Sounds rough.


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