I was asked what exactly inspired Monster. Now that it’s over, I seem to be looking back a lot and reminiscing – which is ridiculous, of course, since the book’s only been over for three days. I was sitting with my earbuds in my ears on the drive home from Florida, my iPod in my hand, my thumb on the ‘fast forward’ button as the lyrics “I love you, baby, I’m not a monster” sang around in my head. I wanted to finish the song because I listened to it over 100 times while writing Monster, but at the same time there was a voice saying This song doesn’t belong to you anymore.
I listened to it anyway. I’m still editing, after all, right?
However, the question ‘what inspired Monster’ is a good one. It also has a weird answer, if you’re going by everything I saw, heard, watched, and read that swirled around in the melting pot I call a brain before coming out in a novel. I shall attempt to list the ingredients that created the Thing That Consumed My Life For Four Months (Almost Five).
1. World War II. It began with a documentary on the Nazi hunter Simon Weisenthal. Watching the horrors that happened to so many people made me think. You know something dug into me if I walk around like a zombie for an hour afterwards – things don’t usually get to me like that. They usually are filed away in the back of my brain as interesting or unusual or disturbing or what-have-you…not this one. Then about two months later, I watched Schindler’s List for school. Now usually, when I’m told I have to watch a movie for homeschool, I’m like “YES! Homeschool is so much cooler than public school!” I did NOT want to watch this movie. I’d heard only depressing, bleak things about it.
And watching it, I realized hey, my friends were right! This movie IS bleak and depressing; one of those films that makes you feel guilty for having a house and food and being able to laugh. Except it too left an impression, the same as the documentary did. Once people stop viewing others as humans, it’s a downward spiral. It got me thinking.
2. ‘Replication’ by Jill Williamson. I hadn’t thought of the connection until my friend Deb pointed out that Monster vaguely made her think of Replication. I thought “Hmm…I can see that.” (By the way, Replication is a really good book. If you’re between 13 and 18, I’d suggest reading it!) I’ve also had people say it almost reminds them of ‘V for Vendetta,’ which I have not seen and therefore coincidences are purely coincidental (I wish there was a ‘v’ word for coincidental).
3. Glowing-eye contacts. I saw them and thought “That has GOT to go in a novel. A character, somewhere, has to glow like that.”
4. Lee Joon from MBLAQ. Mir’s mannerisms were based off him and mentally while writing Monster, Joon’s was the face I had in my head. (Mom still thinks he needs to be played by Ryan Reynolds, and I actually think that could work – except the face isn’t right. Everything else is, just not the face). Everybody’s entitled to give their own face to Mir – in fact, I’d be interested to know how YOU picture him!
5. Several songs and corresponding music videos. ‘E.R.’ by Dalmation was a large one and ‘I Remember’ by Bang Yong-Guk, even though it really has nothing Monster-y about it I listened to the song about eighty times while writing Monster. Also He is We’s “All About Us.”
6. The movie “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” As odd as that may sound, the ideas of experimentation on something more intelligent than we think played hugely into Monster, as did the corresponding rebellion from said experiment.
7. The ‘Rights of the Child’ act in the U.K. Hearing about that more or less gave me chills – having no say over what procedures are performed on your child if it’s considered for ‘their own good’? Ack, ack, ack.
8. A quote given to be by Sofia; “Damaged people are dangerous; they know they can survive.” – Josephine Hart. This quote more or less became the motto for the entire novel (thank you, Sofia!!)
I would see little things everywhere that sparked a new idea for Monster or brought it to mind, and I’m afraid I can’t remember them all. And I really can’t finish this post without giving credit to God. I’m not saying that Monster is ‘God-breathed’ – I’m not that presumptuous. But I honestly believe He was the driving Force behind it, and I owe Him everything.
Now, I think I had better go edit some more. And perhaps have one of my sister’s home-made chocolate cupcakes…and work on Unforget…I like this plan…