(The Original)

Amateur Scribe

End of Story

When I was nineteen, I started writing a novel. I got up to ninety pages of neatly word-processed A4 – around 45,000 words if you are interested – before I realised that it was perhaps the biggest load of twaddle ever conceived (though I admit I haven’t yet read the latest Jo Brand, so should probably avoid leaping to conclusions).

At the time, I had filled my head with the foolish idea of developing it into a screenplay and taking the lead role in the resulting Oscar winner. I believe I was in the process of engineering a scene where I got to perform a trois with my leading ladies (Miranda Richardson and Helena Bonham Carter) when it struck me that my ability to write toe-curlingly embarrassing erotica was rivalled only by my stodgy dialogue and hackneyed plot development.

Chastened and ashamed, I decided never to write fiction again. Obviously time healed and I subsequently started a handful of other projects only to have my enthusiasm waver, confidence shatter and wastepaper basket overflow with further turgid dross.

It is ironic, therefore, that the only piece of fiction I have ever finished was the only one I didn’t actually start. A while ago the BBC ran a competition called “End of Story”, for which several prominent authors penned the first half of short stories and contestants were asked to finish them. The best ones (as voted for by the authors themselves) won all sorts of literary riches like publishing deals, leather-bound souvenir copies of their winning entries, and gushing praise from the hostess of the accompanying TV show, who, from memory, was Claudia Winkleman, but could just as easily have been Davina McCall or Kate Thornton. A slightly geekier version of Pop Idol, you might call it.

If you are at all moved by it, I would be grateful if you could get in touch with Alexei and let him know the extent of his error. I will content myself with watching Young Ones reruns and dreaming of smashing his pudgy face in…

Imitating Katherine Walker (continued)

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