The birth of a monster

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…


15 thoughts on “The birth of a monster

  1. Wow–such a cool list of things that inspired it! I’m really close to the ending…it is amazing. Truly amazing. You’ve got a gift for telling a thing how it is, Mirriam! And as for what Mir looks like…I figured he’d be kinda Asian just because I had seen something somewhere on this blog that I figured what Mir and looked kinda Chinese. 🙂

    • Aw, thank you so much, Rachel!!! *beams* Yeah, Mir looks kind of Korean in my head (but then again, everybody does these days) – but I’ve always found it interesting (and sometimes downright hilarious) how everybody sees book characters differently! One person will say “Oh, they look like so-and-so” and the next person will say “WHAT!? No, no, they look like whatshisface.” XD

  2. That’s exactly how I felt after I finished my first novel (with regards to music)! After years of writing to certains songs that just moved me and went so well with the characters and story, I was surprised that once I finished the novel the songs didn’t have the same ring to them anymore. I stilled loved them, but they didn’t move me as they had before and suddenly I was drifting to other bands and artists that fit more with my second novel. It was unnerving and a bit frightening, letting go of something that had taken years to create, but also so blissful 😀

    • I can listen to the song again now; but for a while it felt a little bit out of my reach! *laughs* I still love the songs, but yeah, they’re kind of nostalgic. Already. *sigh*

  3. It’s always amazing to see all the little things that go into a novel, and what comes out. It’s a beautiful process and the work of the artist is amazing! Thanks for sharing.

  4. MIRRIM!!! I’M BACK AND YOU’RE DONE AND EEEE!!! 😀 I must go finish reading it!

    Also… I’m in your blogpost again EEEE!!! *dies* *rereads* *dies again*

    Sofia found that quote for you? Awesome job, Sofia! *thumbs-up* Celti approves. 😀

    Oh yes, it did remind me a LOT of Replication. Very. Which is good, yes. 🙂

    Um . . . funny thing about V not being a coincidence… There is a really good quote in it when he says “There are no coincidences. Only the illusion of coincidence.” XD XD XD I just about died (again, but laughing this time) when I read what you said about it. 😀

  5. Interesting to see all the “influences” that inspired and motivated you to write Monster. I really hope you get it published soon. There’s a powerful message in that book that the world needs to hear.

  6. Thanks for letting me read *Monster* too!! I decided to start it late at night (bad idea) and then read only a few chapters (also not wise) and then go to bed and sleep well (which I didn’t do, because of hundreds of pictures rolling around inside my head). Human rights issue novels always fascinate me. Anyway, to say it plainly, I’m hooked. Thank you! 🙂

  7. I always imagines him as looking somewhat like GDragon, but with really shaggy white hair and a pale face. Sort of GDragon from Haru Haru when he’s in the bathroom crying. *tears up* I love that part. Makes me want to hug him. And that’s how I generally feel with Mir. Except when he’s trying to kill Eva of course. lol. 🙂

  8. (Thanks Celti! I found that after reading the first eight or so chapters of Monster, and I knew IMMEDIATELY that I had to send it to Mirriam!)

    Thanks for the mention, Mirriam! Like I said above, the minute I saw it I knew it had to be sent to you. It fits SO well!

    Also, love your list. 🙂

  9. Gah, I finished Monster about five days ago and I’m STILL too emotionally discombobulated to function properly when I think about it *cries*! So happy, yet so sad!!! This is what happens when you give a rather unemotional girl so much conflicting feels! I couldn’t even pick up another book for about an hour after I finished Monster…in a good way, of course. I think. So much new feels!!! I’m going to go curl up on a couch and stare off into the middle distance for a few years now…

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