NOT YOUR USUAL SUSPECTS

A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments! and often have guest bloggers.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!


Julie Moffet . Clare London . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A. Miller . Marcelle Dube . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson

Friday, October 11, 2013

AM I BLUE?

AM I BLUE?
Before it left the local theaters, some friends and I went to see Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.  True to all reports, Cate Blanchett is stunning in the starring role of what in many ways is an old-fashioned morality play--one with Wall Street traders, trophy wives and jewelry like the proverbial pigeons’ eggs.
            I’d been dying to see the movie ever since I read Mark Olsen’s interview with Woody Allen in the Chicago Tribune.  (7/28/13) 
Olsen quotes Allen, who both wrote and directed Jasmine, as saying, “I don’t know why they like one (movie) and not another . . . If I could figure it out, I might be able to get rich.”
So the great W.A. can’t figure out what succeeds, which story to tell, which idea to promote?  Sound familiar?
In his search for perfection, Woody is apparently hard to please.  As Blanchett says,
“ . . . he is never satisfied (with his work) . . . he is actually in some exquisite agony and it’s horrific for him often to hear what he’s written.”  Hasn’t every writer you know experienced the same feeling?  But this is a man who’s won multiple Oscars, for Pete sake.
For Allen, “his films almost exist in some way outside of his control.  They’re not autobiographical, he claims.  Yet unconsciously recurrent themes emerge.”  Over time, haven’t you seen this happening in your own work--a thread, a core idea that underlies every book you write?  Maybe the search for peace, for love, for justice.  Whatever.  It’s there, lurking below the surface. 
Of all the Allen quotes in the article, my favorite is, “I’m thinking of entertaining.  That I feel is my first obligation.  Then, if you can also say something, make a statement or elucidate a character or create emotions in people where they’re sad or laughing, that’s all extra.  But to make a social point or a psychological point without being entertaining is homework.  That’s lecturing.”  How true. 
And lest I be accused of that very thing, I’m outta here!  


8 comments:

Anne Marie Becker said...

"Exquisite agony" - yes, that sounds familiar. LOL Finding that magical "X" factor that makes one story hit the big time and another, similar story not even make a splash is fascinating to me. Sure wish I knew the magic formula. ;)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Well, don't we all wish we knew why one story resonates and another doesn't. All we can do is write the darned thing, send it out into the world, and start the next one before angst drives us crazy.

Good post, Jean.

jean harrington said...

Maybe the not knowing--for sure--what will succeed or won't, is part of the mystique of writing. Thanks for your comments, guys, but wish I knew why the format on my post is so skewed. Ah well, c'est la vie.

Elise Warner said...

Perhaps it's similar to being in the right place at the right time. I think we've all written stories that don't sell and just when we're about to give up, we find a home for our baby.

Rita said...

Zowie! Ain't this the truth. Although i do think Woody is misleading about the money he has.

jean harrington said...

We've all been told not to write to the trends, by the time we finish a book, the hot trend has cooled, so yes,that uncertainty can keep us going.

And as for Woody and his money. Tongue in cheek comment? Wouldn't put it past him.

J Wachowski said...

This one gets me mulling too. I have a John Cage quote in my office: "There is no 'win.' No 'fail.' There is only 'make.'"

J Wachowski said...

This one gets me mulling too. I have a John Cage quote in my office: "There is no 'win.' No 'fail.' There is only 'make.'"

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