“Authors Anonymous” is a fictional documentary about a writers group, learning about their lives and process. While the movie wasn’t groundbreaking in any way, it gave the old napkin-to-manuscript-to-published-author-tale a clever and quirky twist.
The characters are likable, even though some slightly annoying, but I feel like the film did a great job in portraying several different kinds of writers. Of course, as with every facet of life, stereotypes exist and this collection of writers is no different. They are all awkward and funny and they all share a common dream: becoming famous writers.
Throughout the movie, she is nice and caring and doesn’t let the fact that she landed a book deal change who she is. (Mostly.) She continues to attend the writer’s group meetings, reading her friend’s work and offering criticisms. She meets a successful author at a book signing and the two hit it off, much to the dismay of another author in the group, Henry. (Which actually turns out to be a good thing for him.)
Of course, after the group finds out she lands a 6-figure deal the jealousy continues and ultimately leads to the break up of their once tightly knit group.
Henry is a normal everyday guy who is well read in the classics and dreams of becoming a published author. He sits in front of a wall covered in rejection letters and never once lets that get him down. Unfortunately for him, writer’s block has hit hard, preventing him from writing anything on his current novel. He works two jobs, delivering pizza and cleaning carpets, which comes in to play at the end of the movie. He’s always focus on what other famous writers have accomplished, always focused on what they have done, not what he is doing.
Unbeknownst to the other members of the group Henry has a crush on Hannah, and is in the process of working up the courage to ask her out on a date. Of course, when he actually does, she tells him that that “writing always comes first.” That is until she meets the author at the book signing. So, one night while Henry is out delivering pizzas he delivers to the author’s house and guess who has the cash...that’s right, you guess it.
Colette is a rich housewife who writes cheesy novels that are nothing more than a collection of sexy adverbs and one-liners. She sees herself as the next big thing in romance fiction but her prose is, shall we say, lackluster at best. She is extremely jealous of Hannah’s success and is so convinced that she needs to be an author that she will do anything in her power to become one. Her need to become published defines her and until that happens she feels that she isn’t complete. This drives her to an agent, who suggests her spiritual advisor write a book on his life, and Colette pushes her way into co-author.
Compromise yourself much?
Alan is Colette’s middle-aged husband, an optometrist, who makes more voice memos on a recorder that actually writing. He is completely devoted to his wife and will go to great lengths to see her succeed. Until, she cheats on him with another, younger, member of the group, William.
And now we come to my favorite character…
John K. Butzin. John is a veteran, and always refers to himself in the third person “John K. Butzin writes high quality fiction.” His idol is Tom Clancy, and he believes his writing is on par with the famous author. He has decided to self-publish his novel, Roaring Lion, becomes completely focuses on his Amazon “ranking” compared to Clancy’s. After some screw-ups on the publisher’s end, and failures in self-marketing, John K. Butzin takes the book on the road for his very own book tour.
I like John K. Butzin, because he is forever the optimist and where other people might have stepped back and thought, maybe I’m not supposed to be a writer he continues marching forward, undeterred. …like me.
The movie makes an small issue with him paying $250 to publish his book, and when he gets the book back from the overseas publisher the cover is horribly wrong (it has a barking dog instead of a lion) and the back cover is in Chinese. There is even a chapter about women and their periods mistakenly added to the book.
I really enjoyed this movie. Of course, my own personal bias toward Indie publishing made me a little resentful of the way the film portrayed self-publishing, but what can you do? Sure John K. Butzin was obsessed with his work and constantly compared it to Tom Clancy, but so what? Why can’t a writer love his work? The only thing that I didn’t like about his tale of self-publishing was the fact that the company messed up the book. It could have been a great book, but because of the quality of the publisher John chose worked with, the book he got back was complete crap—the book, not the story.
Of course, the movie plugged Amazon, how could they not when talking about self-publishing? But they neglected to show how well Amazon and CreateSpace actually work together. Not to mention that the quality of most CreateSpace books is on par with, or better, than most traditionally published books. But the “Big Guys” have to get their jabs in somewhere. I’m actually glad they went after the publisher and not the writer, very classy in my opinion.
I loved the enthusiasm of John K. Butzin, because no matter what, he was extremely positive about his work and regardless of having a tiny yipping dog on the cover of “Roaring Lion” he was undeterred and continued pushing forward.
Okay, the whole point of the movie—and this post—is to say one thing: there’s only one thing that can make you a writer: writing.
Ideas don’t make authors. Hopes and dreams don’t make authors. Finding an agent doesn’t make authors. Reading about writing doesn’t make authors.
WRITING MAKES AUTHORS.
As always, you can hop over to My Movies to check out this film and many others on Amazon.com. Please check out my Writer's Blog and join in the conversation!