Madeleine Marsh


Inspired To Write

We write fan fiction for all sorts of reasons; to set right the wrong-doings of uncaring or simply evil (naming no names, Ben Edlund) screen writers, to bring a brief moment of sub-text into sharp focus, to explore the unexplored angles of many an onscreen relationship.  We see a single frame of possibility and leap on it like a CGI alien on a clueless action hero.  It's a relief to write this stuff and it brings its own rewards.

Writing original fiction requires a different kind of inspiration.  Every November, for the last nine years (and for three months in 2009), I've brow-beaten my muse into focusing on creating original characters in brand new universes and only once have I failed to create a story with at least a start, a middle and an end.  (The Sofa Dialogues has a start and then rambles on for 100,000 words before trailing off in the middle of a sentence.)

For my original fiction, I pull inspiration from all around me.  Just walking along the main road into town there's a derelict medical centre with boarded up windows and No Entry signs, a half-bent wire fence surrounding a weed-strewn car park.  I can practically hear the strange sobs that might echo through the dark halls at night from the ghosts of dead patients trapped within the walls.  Further down there's a three-storey house in dark brick covered in creepers, with moss-covered windows, hemmed in by overgrown trees and ever-growing piles of rubbish.  I can imagine the stooped old woman who lives behind the wild plant life, long fingernails and translucent skin like dry parchment, walking amongst towers of yellowing newspapers and priceless antiques.  The bridge over the stream opposite Tesco has 'Death To All Who Enter' written in white graffiti over one of its arches, the skeleton walled up in the brickwork waiting to make good on the promise.

Inspiration is everywhere; it just takes a degree of imagination to see it.  And imagination is something most writers have oodles* of.  
*oodles - what an awesome word!  Like 'hurtle'.  Someone should write a kids' book called 'Hurtle the Turtle'.  It would be about this really fast turtle who races hares in the animalympics.  But the hare cheats by eating elderflower and no one finds out until they go to Rio and there isn't any elderflower and he's really rubbish….  This stuff's copyrighted by the way, if you're from CBBC, call me.

Last updated: 2013-08-25 13:05:34

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