Friday, January 20, 2012

Top Secret Project

Well, I guess it's not super secret anymore since I'm telling you a bit about it, but the reason I haven't blogged for a few days is that I'm plotting out a series of interrelated, or serial, novellas.

The style will be quite different than my normal fun and fancy. I guess I'd describe the genre as gritty realism (thriller/suspense/psychological), with multiple flashbacks, and told by an unreliable narrator.

Speaking of which, do you like unreliable narrators? Does the storytelling keep you guessing or make you mad?


  1. I enjoy reading unreliable POV's -- and I enjoy writing them even more.

  2. Thanks, Milo. Me too - on both counts. Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" is a classic example - and a profound story to boot in that its "message" has caused great controversy. Love that about narrative voice - you can never pin their perspective down completely. In other words, I like ambiguity in my stories. :)

  3. I was introduced to the concept of the "unreliable narrator" about twenty years ago, whilst on something of a second honeymoon in Rome, with my wife - she insisted on accompanying me.

    Having brought along her copy of Johnston's "What Jack Did?", I should have had an inkling how that particular vacation was going to turn out.

    On the off-chance you haven't read it yet, and to be honest I hadn't heard of it at the time though I am appallingly poorly-read, I'll avoid spoiling the plot but needless to say the ACTUAL crime and the the contrasting views of the main characters, their interpretations of identical scenes and evidence, made my head spin. I literally spent half a day staring out the hotel window, while my wife was perfectly happy to curl up on the bed with her novel. So, money well spent. Every few moments her reading was punctuated with little gasps of excitement, oohhs and aahhs, quite unlike any boudoir noises from my recent memory.

    I made my excuses, largely ignored, and left, having arranged to rendezvous within the hour for dinner. I just needed to take a brisk walk around the block and clear my head. That was how I found myself in a crowded bar, drinking in the real Italian atmosphere, and four or five glasses of chilled white wine.

    Then I spotted my wife. It may have been the alcohol, but she looked lovelier than I'd seen her for far too many years - there's something about raw fury which lights up a girl's eyes and brings a flush to her cheeks, but she was also wearing a dress I didn't remember and had clearly gone to an awful lot of trouble for our missed dinner date. I threw about a million lira on the bar and sneaked out the side door.

    Doubling back to the hotel my intention was to be waiting in the room when she got back and play dumb. I was going to tell her we must have crossed paths, try to make her think it was partially her fault. Worth a try, right?

    The hotel room door won't open. I'm regretting that second bottle and my head is fuzzy, but I double-check the room number and the key and they match. Eventually with a lot of screwing the key in the lock and the tiniest bit of shoulder pressure, I'm in.

    It is the wrong room. There's only a single bed, with an open suitcase on top of it. Granted it does look like my suitcase but it hasn't been unpacked. Even the view from the window, what I can see of it in the receding light, looks different. But in my drunken condition it's all too much to take in. The urge to lie down is immense. It feels later than it is.

    I hear someone behind me and turn. I feel embarrassment and relief to see a large fellow with a thick black moustache standing in the doorway - the room's real occupant. I'm mumbling my apologies, but he just smiles at me and leads me by the shoulder to the bed and sits me down. He's telling me I mustn't keep doing this. Every night the same. He says he understands. Apparently when people have been alone for a long time they stop looking after themselves.

  4. Well, Anton, that certainly shows us what you mean by unreliable narrator. Next time, ask me first before you publish a novel in my comment section, lol. (Remember, this is my front porch, not a town hall. :)

  5. Apologies! Feel free to delete it - my intent was humour not aggravation. It did rather run away with itself once I started.

  6. lol, no problem, I thought it was hilarious. Just wanted to make sure you were a "real person" and that you wouldn't turn this into a serial novella, haha. Best wishes. Lyn


Keep it clean and positive. (And sorry about the word verification, but the spmb*ts are out in full force!)