The Unpredictability of Being Human

by Linni Ingemundsen

When I was a child and someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I said that I was going to be an author. There was just no doubt in my mind whatsoever. Of course, I still ended up following a lot of different routes, goals and plans that were not related to writing at all. I have changed jobs and addresses more times than I can count and today I find it extremely comforting that after all this time one of my earliest premonitions came true.

After years of not writing I somehow found my way back to it and in 2014 I decided to do an MA Creative Writing Course at Oxford Brookes University. It wasn’t really my intention to write YA fiction, it just sort of happened. My writing style is pretty conversational, which I feel works well with a young voice and during my time at Brookes I ended up writing in a teenage voice quite often. During the course you get the chance to get your work viewed by one of their creative writing fellows, which in my case was Steven Hall. I remember having a deadline to submit my work by noon the next day. I also remember that I had nothing and I was starting to panic. Just a little.  

And this was when The Unpredictability of Being Human first came to be. Right after I accidentally burned a bag of popcorn. It started as a short story called You, Me and God Himself, (now the first chapter of the book). I was very nervous about bringing this piece to class, because I was way out of my comfort zone. A part of me was thinking, What the hell are you doing? You are writing about God and popcorn! At the same time the writing had seemed so effortless and the story had just come together so naturally so there was also a part of me that was thinking that maybe, just maybe this will work.

And I suppose something did work, because by the end of the class my coursemates and tutors had convinced me that I should try and turn it into a novel. I remember Steven Hall saying, “Take two weeks and write as much as you can. If it doesn’t work out all you have lost is two weeks of your life.” Then he told me to keep doing exactly what I was doing. And I did.

The story is set in a small Norwegian town filled with humour, pain and a whole lot of nothingness. Fourteen year old Malin describes the ups and downs of life and adolescence while watching family drama play out and buried secrets unfold. Malin’s characterization came rather spontaneously as I started writing the first few lines and she ended up becoming quite a special character. She is naive yet honest, straightforward and genuine and she plays by the rules. I loved getting to know Malin as I wrote the story and to be able to view the world through her eyes. And now that I know burning a bag of popcorn can be the start of such a magical journey I will make sure to mess up more often.

The content in this guest blog is by Linni Ingemundsen, and the views expressed do not necessarily represent the FCBG.

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