I had to buy genuine Acco brand brass brads (#5) last year to hold together my screenplay because Hollywood can't read scripts held together with anything less. Staples only carries the bullshit brads which meant I had to order mine through The Writer's Store.
That put me on The Writer's Store mailing list. Yesterday I got their catalog chock full of writerly stuff. For instance, I considered spending $400 for software that will finish this damn book until I realized I'd still have to finish this damn book.
But it's nice to fantasize that Final Draft will really make my next screenplay better, or The Writer's Guide to Character Traits will make my people leap off the page with all sorts of loveable quirks and idiosyncrasies.
But, I'm guessing that if you need a book of traits to give your characters life then maybe you should try another line of work.
Perhaps I'm being harsh.
Or maybe there are more people making more money selling crap to aspiring writers than there are writers actually making enough money to justify dropping $250 on Truby's Blockbuster 5.0 or 20 bucks on Great Dialogue which promises to help you write great dialogue. But again, if you need a book to help you capture the music of your characters' speech, maybe you should stay in school and get that accounting degree after all.
You can probably tell that I'm not a big fan of these things. I read Donald Maas' book, Writing the Breakthrough Novel, and I liked it well enough to recommend it recently. Although looking at the Amazon Reviews, perhaps I'm as big a patsy as anyone else.
Still, I'm not such a schmuck that I'd wear a goddamn hat that says "Writer" on it.
There's a great line from the criminally overlooked movie, Hearts of the West. In it, veteran screen writer Andy Griffith tells a struggling young Jeff Bridges that "You're not a writer until someone else calls you a writer."
And you're certainly not a writer because you spent 10 bucks on a fucking hat. You might as well wear one that says "Turd."
Now that I think about it, I'd probably wear that hat.
I'm not talking about books like King's On Writing or Lamott's Bird by Bird. I'm talking about books that promise to make you a better writer. Do you think they work? Do you think people actually benefit from writing software, books and stupid fucking hats?
Talk to me.