Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction

by Sharif Khan

I recently had the pleasure of watching Marc Forster’s film, Stranger Than Fiction, which I found to be a delightfully charming, intelligent comedy written by first-time screenwriter Zach Helm. I give it two guitars up. Way up. (Platonically speaking of course).

It’s about an uptight IRS agent, Harold Crick (Will Ferrell), who realizes that his mundane life is being narrated by the voice of a chain-smoking novelist played by Emma Thompson. The novelist is suffering from a bad case of writer’s block and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown because she can’t decide the ending to her story.

Going mad with the constant narration in his head that accurately predicts his every move, Crick solicits the help of a literature professor (Dustin Hoffman) to help find his voice. To his utter shock and dismay, Crick learns that the voice of his narrator belongs to this eccentric author that writes tragedies where her heroes are killed off.

But Crick does not want to die! For the first time in his life he is discovering who he really is and what his true passions are. He sets out to meet the author with the determination to alter his fate. And upon meeting, the two worlds collide. The author is petrified to see that her main character has come to life and that he is very real indeed.

I can certainly relate to this movie as a writer working on my first novel. (In my last ezine, I made a promise to complete my inspirational novel by December 31, 2007. This was inspired by billionaire Bill Bartmann and I would like to invite you to attend his F-R-E-E seminar. For details, see my last blog post). The movie raises some intriguing questions: What does it mean to be real? To find one’s voice? To express one’s voice? Who is narrating our story? Can fate be altered? Where do the boundaries of fiction and non-fiction collide?

I certainly don’t pretend to know the answers. I can only share my perspective as a writer. One of the challenges writers face is to know their characters inside and out and to have a complete understanding of the world they have created so that everything magically comes to life. As the story-writing guru, Robert McKee, likes to say, “Not a sparrow should fall in the world of a writer that he wouldn’t know.”

I believe in a sense that we are all writers. We are writers of our own play. In The Hero Soul (, I close the last chapter of my book with a quote from Shakespeare:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages.”

The world is a stage upon which we perform. Each age consisting of the acts and scenes of the play. But it’s our play. We choose how we act in each scene moment by moment. What type of play do you want to write? What type of a life do you want to live?

Realizing that he is going to be killed off, Harold Crick asks the literary professor for advice. The professor gives him a deceptively simple answer, “Go, live your life! Do what you love to do!”

At first, Crick is offended by the professor’s triteness; but he realizes later that he has no control over his mortality and decides to do just that: live his life. He’s always wanted to play the guitar but never really had the time. For the first time in his life he walks into a guitar shop and sees this wicked turquoise guitar starring back at him. He picks up the guitar and begins strumming.
In that moment his life is transformed from a tragedy into a divine comedy.

What have we been denying ourselves? What type of play do we want to have a starring role in? Sometimes we act in an “If Only” play with a bit part in shoulding all over ourselves until we are mired in a pile of dung so high we can’t get out of it. I should write a novel. I should exercise. I should be a painter. I should start my own business. I should go on a dream vacation. If only I was younger. If only I was older. If only I had the money. If only I had the time.

In the professional world of writing there is a clause known as the “kill fee.” The kill fee is a fee paid by the editor to the writer for an assigned piece of writing that is killed off and never published. It’s usually a percentage of the total amount that was originally agreed upon between the editor and writer. Although there can be many reasons for rejecting a piece, the kill fee is often executed because the writing simply isn’t up to par.

When we’re not being our best selves, when we’re not expressing our unique voice, when we’re not being true to ourselves and not doing what we love to do, something inside of us dies. Life then pays us a kill fee: something less than what we truly deserve.

Are we living a life that’s worthy of being published, or will we live a life of mediocrity and accept the kill fee that’s assigned to us?

Sharif Khan (; is a freelance writer, inspirational keynote speaker, and author of the leadership bestseller, "Psychology of the Hero Soul." He publishes his monthly Hero Soul ezine for cutting-edge advice on success, leadership and personal growth. To contact Sharif Khan about his writing and motivational speaking services, call: 416-417-1259.

Billionaire Speaks: Complimentary Invite

I’d like to personally extend to you the opportunity of spending an evening with BILLIONAIRE BILL BARTMANN. If you ever wanted to meet a Billionaire this is your chance and he will share with you some key strategies to attain massive success in any endeavor.

The best part is it's F-R-E-E. All you have to do is register because seating is limited. When you register please use my name (SHARIF KHAN) for the “person who referred you”, thanks. To register online, go to: or you can simply scroll down and click on the Event email provided below to immediately reserve your seat before all the spaces get filled up. I found Mr. Bartmann’s seminar to be not only educational but also incredibly inspiring as he shared his life story and I hope you will too.

From the Desk of:
Sharif Khan
Copywriter, Inspirational Keynote Speaker,
Author of Psychology of the Hero Soul

Come spend an evening with a self-made Billionaire.

Discover the secrets to achieving personal and financial success from a man uniquely qualified to teach it, a man who went from broke to billionaire, an extraordinary man named Bill Bartmann.

Bill is coming to these US and Canadian cities to give his f.r.e.e. two-hour evening seminar:

Edmonton November 20, 2006
Calgary November 21, 2006
Vancouver December 5, 2006
New York City December 13, 2006
Toronto January 19, 2007
Phoenix February 24, 2007
Los Angeles May 19, 2007

If you'd like to finally understand what is holding you back in life and in business, and to break through this barrier to achieve success, then keep reading.


It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to become a millionaire or a billionaire or if you just want a bigger house, a nicer car, a better job, a healthier life or a happier relationship!

Bill will show you the secret to accomplishing any goal – without buying or selling real estate, trading stocks, or quitting your job (unless that is your particular goal).

Bill’s seminar is the only one conducted by a person who has actually achieved Billionaire status.

There are dozens of SELF-HELP and SUCCESS seminars that focus on teaching you how to exploit opportunities in real estate, stocks and bonds and a whole list of other “get – rich” techniques. Bill’s seminars are remarkably different. He doesn’t teach people how to buy real estate, although he owns millions of dollars worth of real estate. He doesn’t teach people how to buy stocks and bonds, although he has personally done over $3 billion in Wall Street transactions. Although he has made over a billion dollars in these arenas, he doesn’t teach people how to do either of these things. Instead, he shows them how to be successful with the tools they already have.

In this f.r.e.e. two-hour seminar he will share his copyrighted “Nine Steps To Set And Achieve Any Goal”.

These Nine Steps took him: from poverty and welfare to becoming the 25th wealthiest person in America; from homelessness to a 12,000 square foot home; from high school drop-out to becoming a lawyer and Harvard Business School case study; from working at a traveling carnival to being named National Entrepreneur of the Year, inducted into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame and named one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs for the last 100 years in America; from street gang member and teenage alcoholic to being awarded the American Academy of Achievement’s Golden Plate Award, previously bestowed upon five U.S. Presidents and three Nobel Prize winners, and earning a permanent place in Smithsonian Institute's Museum of American History; from bankruptcy to billionaire...

And these Nine Steps can take you from where you are – to where you want to be!

Come and join us for a F.R.E.E. Evening Event with Bill Bartmann.

This seminar is F.R.E.E. but attendance will be limited to those who pre-register on a “first come” basis. Tickets may be reserved by sending an email containing your name and the name of the person (Sharif Khan) who referred you to:

Reserve your seat at this life changing event – before all the seats are gone.

“Bill, why are you doing this?”

I am doing this for two reasons, the same two reasons that compel me to do is the “Right” thing to do and it also is the “Good” thing to do.

It is the “Right” thing to do, because I sincerely believe that the secrets I have learned over the course of my life will help others achieve their success. I am also a believer of the old saying “to whom much has been given, much is expected”. I have been given much and now I want to find a way to help others by sharing what I have learned.

It is also the “Good” thing to do. I am a businessman. You don’t get to billionaire status without understanding the rules of business. I learned at an early age to never insult a person’s intelligence and I am not going to do that now. I know that if you come to my two-hour f.r.e.e. seminar and you get REAL VALUE out of what I share with you in that two-hour time frame, you will want more. If I deliver REAL VALUE you will want to participate in my year-long Billionaire Mentor Program that will help you succeed.

Now is this some trick – where I lure you into a two-hour seminar and then persuade you to buy my stuff – no, it isn’t. It is quite the opposite. I’ll tell you now and I’ll tell you at the two-hour seminar, I don’t want you buying anything that won’t help you or that you can’t afford. I don’t need your money. Instead, I will give you two hours for F-R-E-E and then you can make an intelligent decision of whether there is more I can teach you.

I hope I get the chance to meet you and I hope you will let me help you achieve the success you deserve.