Faking it and making it

LA4One of the biggest challenges Erin and I face in writing the Love in Los Angeles books is finding the right balance between entertainment industry accuracy and using that accuracy in service to the plot.

On one hand, we really want to give readers a sense of being inside the machine.  On the other, Alex’s story is a fairytale, and it needs to feel like one.

In some ways, striking the balance has been easier because, among other things, Erin and I have friends and colleagues in the business, and I’m a member of SAG-AFTRA.

In other ways, it’s been a lot harder.  What if our friends and colleagues in the business read these books?  Are they going to care that we were totally accurate about the financial details of a six-week WGA network TV contract, but totally bogus about how staffing works in most TV writers’ rooms?

If we’ve told the story right, probably not.

I like to joke that if we’d written Starling to total industry accuracy, nothing would ever happen in it, beyond people arguing about contracts and lying about whether the check is really in the mail.

Luckily we’re novelists, so we get to lie a little. Alex becomes a star, has some hot sex, and then freaks out because his life suddenly seems about as familiar to him as the surface of an alien planet.  The love story (and frankly, we should say stories, there’s a lot of emotion to go around in these books) comes when he takes a deep breath and decides to figure out how to master, or at least get along with, his new world.

So, if you’re looking to know what life in Hollywood is really like, you could do a lot worse than Starling and its sequels.  Certainly, it has more accuracy, and more detailed accuracy, than many books set in the business.

But if you’re looking for a blueprint for your own Hollywood dreams, we can only advise that you hang on tight, prepare for a seemingly endless stream of hurry-up-and-wait, and always, always read the fine print.

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