Friday 22 July 2011

The sordid case of life imitating art...

You know how the saying goes 'there is a novel inside all of us' ? Well, a few years ago - with some prompting - I decided to unleash that novel. It was a vanity project really as I was convinced that my wit and intelligence would light up the pages and it would be a runaway success. Instead I laboured over this work and found that the characters took on a life of their own and at times I really struggled to find 'their voices.' It wasn't as simple as it seemed when I narrated possible chapters in my head while cleaning or running. Once in front of the screen all my genius prose dried up and I was left with clunky paragraphs that didn't really follow on from each other. I asked a friend to read it and he was nice about it, but I didn't submit it to anyone as it was never finished and I wasn't sure it would be of interest to anyone else. This was about ten years ago.

Then my life started to resemble events in my novel. Things my protagonist did or said which I'd forgotten writing about happened in my life and I wasn't sure whether I was subconsciously channelling the character I'd written or it was just unfortunate coincidence. Then recently I watched a Channel 4 Dispatches programme about the murder of Anni Dewani (Hindocha) in South Africa on her honeymoon. I realised that her name was the same as my character (and the same spelling) and there were startling similarities in her story with the exception that my character wasn't murdered, but left for dead at the beginning of the novel. It was so chilling I decided that in the interests of public safety the novel inside me is best left unwritten !!

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