Monday, June 05, 2006

Backward Narrative

I have been thinking about narrative techniques recently. Sarah Waters' Night Watch works powerfully by telling the story backwards. This is not exactly revolutionary and Waters herself admits she was partly inspired by Harold Pinter's Betrayal.

The poignancy of the unravelled lives, and then moving back in time to where it all began. Knowing we are fated to disappointment and loss, yet yearning desperately to love.

As an explanation for this train of thought: I'm currently working on the story that I first began when I was supposed to be working on my thesis. That was more than 6 years ago. Back then I was watching too many Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes. The tormented vampire/Slayer love story flooded my consciousness like a cheesy stew.

The story that first sprouted 6~7 years ago was supposed to be a pastiche of all the vampire stories I've imbibed my entire life. But as my computer crashed on me after graduation, and with my life consumed by an adult working life - the story went into hiatus. I stopped writing. Period.

Two years ago I picked up the thread of that lost tale. My notes and drafts were lost and I had to tell the story from scratch; I was also learning to live some aspects of my life anew.

As I begun to write, I realise another story was pushing itself into the foreground. Many of the original characters were altered, some were abandoned. My vampire pastiche became an existential meditation.

I wanted to begin the story with the broken lives of my heroes. (They are heroes because these characters bear the Promethean burden in the story.) And I wanted to trace everything back to the start of it all, 5 years ago.

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