Friday, July 09, 2010

Creative Writing Gone Awry

The genre would be flash fiction. The length of the piece would be under five hundred words, the ending not so much stated as left to the reader's imagination.

The author herself had no idea how her little bit of fiction would end.

Chances are good that Aishling Madden was under the influence on the night she composed a short piece and posted it online.

She did some research on her characters so that she could make a more accurate portrayal. While working as a temp at Accenture, she found the CV of a receptionist and lifted it from the company's files. She'd be sending out her own flurry of resumes soon enough, since she didn't want to be a temp forever.

That took care of the female protagonist. What of a male character? Miss Madden was inspired by a man who worked at Office Angels, a recruiting firm. He interviewed her for positions, but she didn't suit. All the same, she kept an e-mail from him.

She typed up her story and posted it on Gumtree, where other would-be authors and sex workers posted their tales. Gumtree, as it turned out, wasn't an online journal of literature but an online marketplace where those interested in performing various sex acts could run an advertisement.

The woman whose CV was stolen started getting phone calls of a disturbing nature. Quite a few men were willing to take her up on the offer. The gardai were notified and they tracked the posting to Ms. Madden's computer.

They found all sorts of evidence on Ms. Madden's hard drive. She tried to compose another piece of flash fiction on the spot, but lost the plot line and ended up presented scenarios that didn't mesh.

She saved the CV for research purposes. She wrote up the ad but didn't post it. Some people came to her house and they posted it, but she couldn't recall their names or addresses. To link the various plot lines, she said that it had only been a practical joke.

No one found it funny, especially the two people whose names and phone numbers were put on the Internet, where nothing ever goes away.

Ms. Madden has been found guilty of defamation and publishing grossly offensive materials. She's been remanded on bail and returned to her parents. She's expected back in court at the end of the month for sentencing.

A stint in jail would do wonders for her literary career, providing plenty of real-life experiences that aren't to be found sitting in her bedroom in her daddy's house.

Paying a fine could pose some difficulty for the budding author. Unemployment doesn't pay much, and the two victims of her literary tour de force will be looking for compensation for the misery Ms. Madden put them through.

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