The things we did to get to where we are

So last night, after a frustrating day at my desk, I slump onto the sofa with my husband to channel surf, and we come across a silly 1995 movie called A Kid in King Arthur’s Court.

I know nothing about this movie, except for the brief description that pops up via the info button: “An earthquake transports a California teenager to King Arthur’s Camelot.” Ho-kay. I like movies about King Arthur, so I continue watching. And a character called Princess Sarah pops up who looks an awful lot like Kate Winslet. Of course, it can’t be. Then there’s a character called Master Kane who looks like a blond beach boy. I think he also looks a lot like actor Daniel Craig. My husband says that’s crazy, of course it can’t be Daniel Craig.

So we go onto IMDB, my online source for everything Hollywood, and holy cow. That ridiculous movie had BOTH Kate Winslet and Daniel Craig in the cast! The movie was made before either actor had made their marks as Major Movie Stars.

Do they look back on that film now and wince with embarrassment? Do they harbor fantasies of sneaking into the film vaults and burning every copy? Or do they, like every other Major Movie Star, just count those early duds as the dues they had to pay to make it to the top?

It made me think about writers, and how many of us now look back at our early work and wince. How many of us wish we could destroy every copy of our first novels? How many of us wrote porn to pay the bills? Or churned out articles for iffy magazines?

In my case, I started my career writing romantic thrillers. While I’m not embarrassed by any of those books (and they were not easy to write — no genre is easy!), there are times when I wish I could hide my early romance novels from my current thriller audience because of all the flak I get. Many mystery readers hate romance, any hint of romance, and they make damn sure I know it. But I look back on that period of my career as something I had to do to make it as a writer.

Are any of you embarrassed by something you wrote way back in the years when you were first trying to get a toehold in the industry? Share!

3 replies
  1. BernardL
    BernardL says:

    No one I can think of has ever gained fame in any endeavor starting at the top. The dues we pay to achieve success in a chosen field remind us of where we came from and how far we’ve come. You have come far, young Jedi. 🙂

  2. mochamaker
    mochamaker says:

    Though ridiculous as that movie seems now, it did propel me to search out the Mark Twain book, A Yankee in King Arthurs Court which I read and immediately adored. In regards to your romance genre books, I happen to like them as much as your RandI books.
    I just started writing fiction this year and I’m finding that with each story I write, I get better at recognizing and fixing the little nuances so paramount to being a good storyteller. I wouldn’t erase them for anything. And, as embarrassing as those romance novels may be for you, they no doubt did help you become the fabulous writer you are today.

  3. Jiheishou Daigakusha
    Jiheishou Daigakusha says:

    I vaguely remember the movie you mention. As I recall, it was yet another movie version of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court which was written by Mark Twain. From humble books do great (or not-so-great) movies rise.

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