It was a dark and stormy night and they were gathered around the central hearth.
“Tell us a story, lei-lei sa”.
“Then listen well, all of you, whilst I tell you a story true. A story about lord and men, thieves and ladies. This story has love and war and death and betrayal and redemption and honour. This story has it all; and this story is about my father…”
I think I might have found the voice of my narrator for the story. The annoying thing? I actually found the voice in a burst of inspiration whilst sitting in the Botanic Gardens back at the start of September, but I’d forgotten about it. Most of my writing gets done on the MiniMe or, in a scrape, on my phone and then transfered to the MiniMe. But every now and then I am tripped up by my addiction to notebooks. Sometimes I just can’t stomach tapping away on the computer; I need the feel of pen and paper, especially when I am making random jottings and notes. As I was doing that day in the Botanic Garden.
So a snippet gets scribbled down as it floats through my brain, without me really making a connection to anything else, then I put the notebook away and forget about it. Till three months later I am sitting bored at my computer, browse through some old photos on Flickr, see a shot of a notebook I’d taken, check what I’d written, and… pfft! the connection is made.
Not that my story really needs a narrator and nor am I sold on the efficacy of narrators (they can be a trite and over-used device) but it is nice to have, in my head, a framework of how this story came to be told. It isn’t just a random story of some people going on a journey – it fits into a wider context and becomes the history of a particular group of people. We hear the story because people in the future are telling it to their kids…
Whether or not this telling will be made explicit or not is another matter. I’ve got to get the first draft on the page before I get to think about wider stylistic points.
Just don’t ask me how close I am to getting the first draft onto the page, please…