The Man Who Invented Christmas.
If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it. When I saw the trailer and said, “I have GOT to see that!” my son bought it for me. I saved it, un-watched, until we could see it together. We finally got to do that a few nights ago, and I laughed harder than I’d done in quite a while.
Of course, it’s highly fictionalized, but how it portrays the writing process rings true to my experience as a novelist, in most respects (I’ve never suffered with “blockage,” as expressed by William Makepeace Thackeray, in the script). Non-writers often don’t understand that fiction is neither autobiographical nor biographical, and the film correctly shows how a novelist puts together pieces of real-life experience in a different way, creating a new “fictional reality,” (what I call “Life in the Parallel Universe”). The way Dickens accumulates a following of fictional characters who turn up in odd places and at unreasonable times, and who don’t do what he wants them to do, is hilariously accurate. There are no Queensberry Rules for writing a novel: it’s a free-for-all; anything goes, and it usually does.
I’ve written about Charles Dickens elsewhere in this blog: All You Need is Love, in which it’s shown that A Christmas Carol is more subtly complicated than many who enjoy the tale would suspect; and in my Another Author’s Insight quotation series, in which Dickens, writing in 1850 after having finished David Copperfield, reveals the true depth of the relationship that can develop between authors and their characters.
My son found my reaction to the film as amusing as the movie, but I told him, “Wait until YOU write a novel – THEN you’ll know!”