A year ago, I was having a Bad Day, and when I have Bad Days I always re-watch a movie or TV series, because it comforts me to know how things will end. This time, I chose True Detective, a series that had fascinated me the first time I watched it because one of the main characters was so nihilistic.
But now it was something else that caught my attention: the format. It has such a bold beginning, with the nihilist being interviewed by people you can’t see, and as soon as I saw it, I was inspired.
What if I, too, started a story with an interview? What would it be about? How would I show the insurmountable differences between interviewer and interviewee, so that the reader couldn’t imagine the two of them ever getting together?
That’s how All You Can Eat was born. Of course, to begin with, it had nothing to do with either eating disorders or France. I meant for the story to be some kind of mystery, either with a policeman or a journalist in the role of interviewer.
From my notes that evening:
Something about a journalist who interviews someone, and the guy is scared stiff for some reason, maybe even crying, and to begin with they don’t like each other. The interviewer thinks the interviewee is easily needled, weird and weak, and he in turn thinks the interviewer is abrasive. He retells some kind of harrowing story – maybe some kind of sect, like this guy has escaped from the sect and a journalist wants to do a feature on it, and keeps coming back to the guy’s place to find out more. And it gets really late, and he tells the story, and he is really messed up and upset and at the beginning the interviewer thinks he’s pretending, but then he slowly realizes that this really was a horrible experience. Need some research on sects.
Needless to say, in the end I scrapped the sect and the journalist and made it about a dietician and his patient instead. But it’s kind of fun to keep those ‘first idea’ documents, because it shows the spark of inspiration in real time.
I’m happy with how my story turned out, but the original idea isn’t bad either. If anyone wants to nick it, be my guest!