List #7: Writer’s Block is a Killer

I kind of like this one. Still a work in progress, but offhand these six are all that came to me.

You sit at your desk and stare at your screen, or your typewriter. You’re so desperate to produce something great that you freeze up and your imagination goes in every other direction at once. Nothing good can come of this situation, especially when you yourself are fictional.


Charlie Kaufman is hired to adapt Susan Orlean’s book, The Orchid Thief, into a screenplay. In his desperation he winds up writing himself into the story. It all goes to hell from there.

Alan Wake

You play as a popular writer, stuck for progress in your new novel. As you mope and sulk around your small town, the characters from your book start to come to life around you. It all goes to hell from there.

Barton Fink

A snooty New York playwright comes to L.A. to write for the movies. The studio puts him up in a questionable hotel, under questionable management, in the company of questionable guests. It all goes to hell from there.

Secret Window

Before his divorce, Johnny Depp used to be a successful writer. Now it’s all he can do to type a paragraph before returning to bed. One day he hears a knock on his cabin door. On answer, he beholds a strange fellow who accuses Depp of plagiarism. It all goes to hell from there.

The Shining

Jack Nicholson is an abusive father with a drinking problem. In an attempt to put all of that behind him, he takes some time off from work to manage an abandoned hotel over the winter, and concentrate on his book. It all goes to hell from there.

Throw Momma from the Train

Billy Crystal deals with his writer’s block by teaching community college. One of his students, Danny Devito, writes inept revenge fantasies about his own mother. Crystal suggests that Devito watch a Hitchcock movie for inspiration. It all goes to hell from there.