Paperback Writers

 Snoopy writing "It was a dark and stormy night-"

Writers like to write about writers. It’s part of that whole ‘write what you know’ thing. So no surprise that there’s often a wayward scribe in some of our favourite TV shows. Are the shows’ creators writing their own lives through those characters, or are they just creating an ideal?

Let’s check some examples!

Hank Moody – Californication

Hank writing drunk

 Hank is your stereotypical self-destructive writer type. Which is cool, because even though he messes up a lot, you kind of like him. And he’s apparently some super talented writer that people fall all over themselves to please (or sleep with). Hank uses the things in his life to write his books, like his affairs with crazy people and experiences with rock stars, but the writing never seems to be the thing that matters. Being a writer is just an excuse for him to behave like a crazy child with no care for the consequences. Later, when his daughter wants to be a writer, it’s because she’s seen that the lifestyle is all sex, drugs, rock and roll. Maybe that’s how they roll in California. Over on this side of the pond, professional writing is more about mainlining caffeine and trying to write your edits without getting too jittery. But maybe I’m missing out on a party.

Richard Castle – Castle

Castle wearing Writer vest


Again, overgrown man-child who is so good at his job that people ignore all the stuff that he does. I’ve always like the idea that being a writer gives you a varied skill set that may actually be useful in the outside world. But this is a lie. You only have to see my job applications to know this. Transferable skills or not, Castle, as a crime writer, seems to know how the stories of the murderers should go, and I like that he’s always looking for a link in the back story. He’s more focused on a good story than on what happens in reality, which is a quality I admire in people. Except people solving murders.

Rory Gilmore/Jess Mariano – Gilmore Girls

Rory and Jess reading 

Have I ever written a post for PCP where I haven’t mentioned Gilmore Girls? Rory Gilmore, destined to be an international journalist ever since the first episode, actually achieves her dream, off on the campaign trail following Obama in the run up to the election (yes, this was ages ago and I’m still harping on about it). Jess Mariano, bad boy who reads a lot and is incapable of sticking with a job…yes, writing makes sense. If the only thing you actually give a damn about is words, and you’re no good at listening to authority figures, sure, be a writer. (After reading Miss Thropist’s post about the return of various TV shows, and the new Veronica Mars movie, here’s hoping that Gilmore Girls will also get a return. Maybe Jess will have turned into Hank Moody, and Rory will be a Lois Lane type. Who knows? Who cares? Only me.)

Carrie Bradshaw – Sex and The City

 Carrie writing

Carrie pretty much sums up how I feel about my job. I spend a lot of time pissing about, then I write some crap on a page and hope someone cares. The difference being Carrie has fallen into the trap of believing everyone should care, even though she’s writing about things that are hardly ground breaking, and to be honest, should have gotten her sued for libel a good few times. I really would have been interested to see random interviews with the fictional people of New York to see if they were judging her on her shoe choices and taste in men, or if they cared at all. Also, no writer can afford that many Manolo Blahniks and that size of an apartment in New York. I’m sorry. Even in the good old days, writing 200 words once a week does not earn you that. Lies.


Joel Stevens – Hart of Dixie

 Joel writing

In trying to find Joel’s surname online, I stumbled into a whole world of audiences who hate him! Poor Joel! Just because his girlfriend belongs with another character and the whole of the internet knows it, doesn’t mean he’s a bad character. He’s one of the few writer characters who you actually see writing! Or talking about deadlines! Or dealing with rejection, and writer’s block, and bad feedback, and everyone calling him lazy because he doesn’t do enough cardio. He also gets super giddy about new experiences because then he gets to write about them. I relate to this man a lot more than I should. But yes, everyone says he’s kind of boring, but that really is just what this job is. Not everyone is drinking in the middle of the day and bringing out excellent work. But thanks, Hemingway, for making everyone feel like they have to.

So – I’m sure I’ve missed lots of people out! Who are your favourite writer characters on TV? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

And if you’re interested in doing some writing yourself, I’ll be running a workshop in London in April, all about how to use writing to feel great about yourself. Someone tell Hank Moody…

One thought on “Paperback Writers

  1. Love this! And I adore Joel – can’t understand why he gets so much flack! I really like that HoD deflated some of the tension/cheesy tropeiness by breaking up all the love triangle silliness and giving Zoe a stable, happy relationship. Maybe that won’t end up lasting the season but it’s just really pleasant 🙂

    I CARE ABOUT GILMORE GIRLS. But not Jess, he was annoying. I only care about the laydeez. And Luke. And Luke’s hats.

    Hmm who’s my favourite writerly tv character… well I love the way Dawson Leery is SO CLEARLY a Kevin Williamson avatar, but I hate the character. And I couldn’t bloody well stand Dan in Gossip Girl most’ve the time but I loved the way it wrapped up! Hmm… maybe Brennan from Bones would be a contender? Oh and the Dean from Community of course!

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