Writers as Protagonists: They’re everywhere

I saw this on Twitter yesterday:


Gwenda Bond  @Gwenda
Riddle me this, Twitter — best scary/horror books that feature a writer as main character? (We’ve decided to do only novels featuring writers for book club because endless genres! We already put Misery on the shortlist.)

I’m not super keen on horror, though I do read SOME horror. I hated Misery. But of course, with a tweet like that, at once you think of the zillions of non-horror books with protagonists who are writers. Right?

I know there ARE zillions. There must be. But in fact I am having trouble thinking of examples.

a) Jo in Little Women.

b) Cath in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

c) Harriet in Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter mysteries

Look at that! I’m already drawing a blank. This is ridiculous.

On the plus side, I can think of worse choices for a book club than Little Women, Fangirl, and Gaudy Night. Wouldn’t that be a fun selection? So extraordinarily different in so many ways. On the minus side, the only other books that spring to mind are in fact Stephen King novels.

What are some other titles in which the protagonist is a writer?

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6 thoughts on “Writers as Protagonists: They’re everywhere”

  1. The thing is that while writers know a lot about writers, the writer at work is not a thrilling plot. So you have to write about them not writing. It’s not the only occupation for which that’s true, but it’s a limit.

    Also there’s the side where you have to have the character say this is or is not like the stories they write, which gets interesting.

  2. I don’t really do horror, so only have other genres.

    Afterworlds, by Scott Westerfeld – at least the half that follows Darcy. Very immersed in the YA publishing world.

    Also read a writer-y rom com semi recently? Some googling gives me the title Beach Read – in it, both characters in the couple are writers.

  3. Kathryn McConaughy

    Stephen Bly – Paperback Writer, Hidden Places series
    I think quite a lot of mysteries…

  4. Also drawing a bit of a blank – but I read mostly fantasy and sf, most often secondary world fantasy, which seems to lend itself to other professions. Lots of fantasy librarians, bibliophiles and scholars – Penric writes scholarly works on medical sorcery and other demon-related topics, does that count? Fiction wasn’t specified. Frodo and Bilbo (and Sam) wrote memoirs of their adventures. I suppose fiction-writing as a full time profession requires something of a publishing industry.

    Oh – Lewis, a recurring POV character/protagonist in Kage Baker’s Company SF time travel SF series. His main job is doing whatever the Company tells him to in order to get history to turn out profitably, but he poses as / is a bard for centuries, gets out of a difficult situation with adaptive storytelling, and spends his leisure time writing a neverending vaguely victorian picaresque adventure novel. Which is implied to be dreadful, but the question also didn’t specify a good writer.

  5. William Ashbless is a poet in The Anubis Gates, although that’s seldom the most significant thing about him.

    I don’t remember the name of the writer-protagonist in the terrible late Heinlein The Cat Who Walks Through Walls.

    Orson Scott Card wrote the short story version of “Lost Boys” with himself as the narrator, and I imagine there are scads of other ghost stories that use the same pretense. Since I don’t typically read horror, I wouldn’t know.

  6. There’s a writer in All You Zombies too. The man whose answer to the question of what he does is “I’m an unmarried mother.” If he’s feeling nice, he adds “at half a cent a word.” (Or whatever the price was.) Wrote confessional magazines.

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