‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘The Shaping of Water’ and the Oscars

Ruth HartleyDisplacement, The Shaping of Water, The Tin Heart Gold Mine, Video, War, Writing Process2 Comments

Films and books and Oscars

There’s my first novel The Shaping of Water – and there’s the film – The Shape of Water  – its quite strange when the title of your book is almost, but not quite, on the shortlist of the Oscars! If only! Add to that that there is a fascinating character called Oscar in my novel The Tin Heart Gold Mine.

Gothic horror and new ideas

The thing is that I love Guillermo del Toro‘s films – they are strange, disturbing, wonderful and very thought-provoking and of course, completely unlike my story and in fact unlike anything I write. I loved Pan’s Labyrinth and I enjoyed The Devil’s Backbone but then del Toro’s films are gothic horror though never simply about scaring you – they jolt you into thinking and seeing things anew.

Film director instead of writer

If I had been born into a different generation I would be making films. When I sat in the cinema in Salisbury, Rhodesia, watching Annie Get your Gun I knew I wanted to be the film designer – I didn’t know that I actually wanted to be a film director – I was 8 years old and didn’t have the right words – I just knew I wanted to be the artist in chief of the movie! Of course I wanted to write the screenplays too.

How to buy my books

Instead I am a writer. If you go to Troubador my publisher you will be able to buy The Shaping of Water at a reduced price by using the discount code which is, of course, OSCAR  – or the code they tell you to use. Click here to buy The Tin Heart Gold Mine  also reduced.

My MA video


So here’s the video I made for my MA thesis. I enjoyed making it – its supposed to be about the things that we know and understand that are never obvious or out in the open – the things we read “between the lines”. Perhaps this video made without any need to attract an audience or have a commercial value is  a little closer to  del Toro’s films and  to science fantasy stories which  I also love.

Ursula Le Guin

An elderly woman with shoirt-cropped white hair and a lined and sunburnt face looks straight at the camera. Her face is half in shade.

Ursula Le Guin

That brings me to sad news – the wonderful Ursula Le Guin has died – she was a writer I admired because she could invent whole new worlds and  ways of being in those worlds – she could imagine difference kinds of people and places and show us them without having to instruct or explain. Le Guin also disliked labelling novels into genres which is done mostly for commercial reasons.

I wish it was avoidable but it seems it isn’t for me.

2 Comments on “‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘The Shaping of Water’ and the Oscars”

    1. Ruth Hartley

      Yes – I did too but what I really need to happen is for people who search for The Shape of Water to come across The Shaping of Water and feel sufficiently interested to buy a copy and read it. I suppose I can dream on!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.