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Learning about writing from Stranger than Fiction

Learning about writing from Stranger than Fiction

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Learning about writing from Stranger than Fiction

There is a lot to learn from Stranger than Fiction, a 2006 American fantasy comedy-drama film directed by Marc Forster, starring Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, and Emma Thompson. The story is very unique in terms of the beautifully articulated narration that the main character of the story could also hear. Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) is an IRS agent who is obsessed with his routine life. But one fine day, his routine is disturbed by a narrators voice in his head, which tells him about his life in the most artistic way possible. His life is surrounded around a wrist-watch, which stops working and Harold has to reset the watch with the time given by a bystander. And as he does this, the narrator speaks, "little did he know that this simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death" and that's when all hell breaks loose. Harold is now in search of the narrator, to find out why he has to die and whether he could stop it.

Things you can get to learn from this movie.

The beautiful Narration Style

Karen Eiffel (Emma Thompson), a partially depressed author known for killing her main protagonists in her novels, happens to be the voice in Harolds's head. The sheer beauty of the play of words used by this character makes the viewers long for the voice in Harold's head to return. The Show, not tell technique used by most authors to bring their story to life, can be seen beautifully painted on to the screen.

Identifying whether your story is a tragedy or comedy

Professor Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman) helps Harold in identifying whether he is a part of a tragedy or comedy, thereby be able to find the author. Professor presents Harold with various questions to learn the aspects of a literary work Harold thinks he is a character, who is facing his imminent death.


Battling writers' block.

Karen Eiffel is struggling her way through a writers' block, as to how to kill her main character. She gets so obsessed with the block that drives her to smoke far too many cigarettes, and chew far too much gum. It is where Penny Escher (Queen Latifah) tries to help her by maintaining focus and discipline.


Parallel and converging Plots.

The storyline is impressive as you have one story weaved into the other. Both stories convincingly converge to present one beautiful story creating beautiful moments of romance, suspense, humour, drama, etc, for the viewers to cherish.

The twists and alternate endings.

Can stories have alternate endings? The novelist takes us through this aspect as well. It will be best to keep this unanswered as to not to rob you of the pleasure of this beautiful movie. The movie is available on most OTT platforms and for any aspiring fiction author/writer, this movie is a recommended watch.


If you feel inspired to explore such stories yourself, we indeed have a platform for you. Novella Short Stories will be glad to handhold you into short story writing through the workshops for beginners and advanced.

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