The View from Upstairs

“You don’t even exist and you still moan like a bitch if

you’re not getting all the attention.”

Some time ago I put a short story up in my prose section entitled The View, From Upstairs, but since writing that I have also turned it into a screenplay.

It is the first screenplay I’ve ever tried to write and although it isn’t my favourite medium I am quite happy with the finished result.

The story itself came from a writing exercise I did a while back with the creative writing teacher at HMP Frankland. He collected a variety of assorted newspaper headlines in one envelope and a range of pictures in another. Each student had to pick one of each at random and use them as the basis for a story. I picked a picture of a girl with her head in her hands and the newspaper headline “The View From Upstairs”, which I took as my title.

The premise I wanted to work with at first was quite different to what I ended up writing. I wanted to try and write a story from the point of view of the voice in someone’s head, who knows they are just a voice but still has a narrative to offer.

Over the next year I spoke to a few prisoners who suffer from mental health problems and who actually hear voices themselves and the way they spoke about the voices as real people made me change my mind. Suddenly it seemed so much more interesting to write a story that examines what it might be like to find out you don’t exist when you have always thought it was the other one (the real person) who was the voice inside your head. Can a figment of your imagination experience grief?

You can still read my original story and you can now read my adaptation of it into a screenplay too.

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